He Kexin, Chinese Gymnast Is 13-Years-Old Says News Agency Xinhau
Olympics, Summer, Gymnastics, He Kexin

Stunning. I Would Have Never Guessed He's Still Prepubescent, But Does It Really Matter?

8/14/08 in Olympics, Summer   |   CriticalFanatic   |   respect



As The Olympics Turn
continues.

If you watched any of the Woman's All-Around Gymnastics competition on Tuesday night, you heard NBC's play-by-play announcer Al Trautwig and analyst Tim Daggett comment often about the growing controversy regarding the actual age of the Chinese gymnastics participants. 

Olympic rules state that you must turn 16 during the calendar year to compete.

Most of the discussion has revolved around He Kexin, pictured above. I think you can draw your own conclusion, and Tratwig certainly shared his.

Today, more evidence surfaced that He (she) is just 13-years-old, which would shock no one. A state media agency, Xinhau, filed a report that appeared on their website this morning reporting her real age. Naturally, the document disappeared not long after the Associated Press reported their findings.

We need to debate how old Kexin is. She's not 16. The real discussion here is whether her age actually matters. I understand that the Olympic age is set at 16, and thus China has broken the rules, but in the big picture, should there be an age limit?

Kexin is unquestionably one of the best gymnasts in the world; her uneven bars performance in women's all-around competition provided all the evidence needed. So, if she's one of the top Chinese at her sport, shouldn't she be allowed to compete with the best in the world? I have no problem with that. I don't encourage the type of training He is put through at such a young age, but that may be a whole different conversation.

She's young, and incredibly talented. Whether she's 13, or 16 as she says, she's deserving of her participation in these Olympic Games.

What are your feelings on this age limit? Should the Chinese be penalized for breaking, or bending the rules?
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6/17/10   |   niekeortibus31

 We all know that He Kexin is a great gymnast and that she deserved the gold medal on bars. And also sha can't help it that her coaches said that she had to compete in the olympics.
On the other hand it is not fair against other young girls for example from the USA. If e Kexin gets a chance girls like Jordyn Wieber and Rebecca Bross should have gotten the chance to.
I think we should keep the age limit because girls shouldn't be olympic champion at the age of 12/13...

3/6/10   |   jewology101

China cheats because that is the only way they can save face. They lack the physical prowess that others races posess over them so they kidnap their young and force them to train in dormitories, blood dope, use steroids and use 13 year old gymnasts.  Track and Field is where the true natural athletes are showcased and despite Chinas cheating for gold medals, I've yet to them do anything in this arena.  The olympic committee and too chicken to slap them on the wrist for whatever reason so it continues.  Being younger means being smaller and in womens gymnastics, there is a big advantage to smaller size. The U.S. has dozens of 13 year old girls who are elite. There are a couple who are even better than our national champion, Bridget Sloan. Its too bad we can't use our 13 year olds in the olympics. 

3/6/10   |   jewology101

yo

8/22/08   |   suelj2

It doesn't matter what country she is from, the point is, there is a question on whether or not she is breaking the rules.  She looks like she is no more than 12, but it might be that she is naturally smaller.  On the other hand if it is found that she is breaking the rules (no matter how right or wrong they might be) she should be held accountable and she should be reprimanded.

8/19/08   |   whitechocolat3dream

Hi everyone. For the record, I'm a canadian born chinese, and I'm not going to pick sides.

I have to agree with most people on this, if you're breaking the rules.. you're breaking the rules.It's not fair for other competitors. It's so obvious a 13 year old is way more flexible than a 16 year old. 

What makes it even more controverial is that He's passport is "valid", I've always heard the chinese government was corrupt, but this is just ridiculous. What good are rules when people are not following them. If He is really 16, she should let us test her scientifically through DNA or other means of evidence.

I know asians "look" younger. I'm 21 and I still get asked for my ID everywhere. But when I look back at some of my photos of when I was 16, yea I did look young. But not thaaaat young. I didn't look 12! Actually in He's case, she looks 9 or 10, but we're not going to go there, since we all know these poor gymnasts have stunted growth and do not look healthy.

If you look at some of the judging done in this olympics competition, you can see that the judges have been pretty lenient on the Chinese. All I want is for China to be fair, that's all I ask. However, don't get me wrong, the chinese are really good athletes and some are really skilled and deserve the gold. But I'm just saying the gold will be there for you when you're of legal age if you really deserve it. Look at that Russian vaulter that got silver.. she's 33 and has a son!

Anyway, does cheating to win actually mean you deserve to win? That's my 2 cents. 

On an aside, I agree Nastia Liukin's routine was better than Kexin He, no doubt.

8/19/08   |   horselover1fan

 Other countries had to leave their great gymnasts behind because they were to old enough to compete so why should china get to break the rules just because they are hosting the olympic games. it's unfair to the other countries because now china has an advantage. younger gymnasts are more flexible, therefore they can preform better. Rules are in place for a reason and nobody should be able to break the rules for any reason. I don't think he kexin earned that gold medal. It should have gone to Nastia Liukin. i think there judging wasn't very good on that one.

8/18/08   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

bblue wrote:

You're another one of those idiot liberal Americans out there who don't care about rules. Rules are in place for a reason....to make the competition equal among participants. If you would use your brain for a moment here you might deduce that the human body (with regard to flexibility and resilience) is quite different in a 13 year-old as compared with a 16-year old. By age 16, the typical gymnast's body has taken much more of a "beating" than a 13 year-old's body (injuries, wear-and-tear, etc.). So, 13 year-olds competing with 16 year-olds is not a level playing field....hence, there are age categories of competition to keep the competitions equal.

What does liberalism or conservatism have to do with any of this? 

8/18/08   |   bblue

You're another one of those idiot liberal Americans out there who don't care about rules. Rules are in place for a reason....to make the competition equal among participants. If you would use your brain for a moment here you might deduce that the human body (with regard to flexibility and resilience) is quite different in a 13 year-old as compared with a 16-year old. By age 16, the typical gymnast's body has taken much more of a "beating" than a 13 year-old's body (injuries, wear-and-tear, etc.). So, 13 year-olds competing with 16 year-olds is not a level playing field....hence, there are age categories of competition to keep the competitions equal.

8/16/08   |   kallen57

There's no question that He Kexin has incredible talent. However, for He to be allowed to compete in Olympics 2008 is wrong according to the rules. What other countries had 13, 14, or 15 years olds who could have been competitive, but were forced to stay home and watch on television? I acknowledge the many who don't agree this rule should be in place, but there were legitimate reasons for it's creation. While other countries must follow this rule, why is China allowed to blatantly break it in what is surely a perfect display of government disintegrity? I and anyone else who searches can still find old articles about He's performances which state her age as sadly less than what is required for qualification into Olympics 2008. This whole issue is ridiculous. China used bad judgement in allowing He to become a part of the team, and she should be disqualified. I feel sad that she has been "put on the spot" in this fashion.

8/15/08   |   p38m

The point is one of injury to a growing body. That is why they have to be 16. As the skill increases every year the injuries mount and the full effect won't even be known or felt for a generation when we have a bunch of crippled 30 years olds with knees and hips(etc.) of octogenarians.

8/14/08   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

I think we need to question whether gymnastics should even be a part of the Olympics if it benefits you to be 13 rather than 16.  13 year olds should not be participating in the world's most prestigous sporting event, regardless of how talented and mature they may be.

8/14/08   |   LanoraMRuiz

(Edited by LanoraMRuiz)

The science of areodynamics behind the sport is what people need to look at, the younger shorter more flexible children have a huge advantage over a 16 y.o. forget that the Americans are anceint in the sport at 21! That is why it is such a big deal. I know the Americans made mistakes (Plus they where out 2 team members) but that is because they are heavier due to age and that is just one of the reasons it is such a big deal. Are we saying people or countries cheating all the time is (sadly) now the norm and we should accept it? Plus anyone who complains is said to be whinning (or sour grapes). Yes the Americans need to train more Domonique Dawes said that the Johnson trains 4 hours a day (that must be wrong) if so, that is no where near what the chinese train They train15 to 16 hours per day 7 days a week since they are 3. We need to look at that! So some one saying who cares she is only 13 or 14 is ignorant and needs to take basic science again (no stupid American jokes please). I'm not whinning only stating a fact. I really don't care who won, there should be no age limit. Since we have enough unwanted children in the USA we could train them like caged animals, why not follow the leader?

8/14/08   |   JKB37   |   2409 respect

She may have the talent.  She may even deserve to be in these games based on that talent.  But if you are using performance enhancing drugs, you are clearly in violation of the rules.  You are kicked out.  Based on that principal of breaking the rules..  She should not be in these games.  I know its not really the same thing, but rules are rules.  She can compete in 2012 and be the best in the world.  Right now though, she should not be participating based on what the current rules state.

8/14/08   |   kaitlynkrause

Just because China is hosting the games does not mean they can ignore the rules, rules have been broken, and when rules are broken the medals must be stripped. The girls of China may be good but they are not old enough. Strip their medal and teach them not to cheat!!!