Hacker unearths young Chinese gymnast scam
Underage and under the radar
A search engine hacker has uncovered fresh evidence that the Chinese women's gymnastic team cheated by fielding underage competitors.
Doubts surfaced even before the competition that as many as half the members of the six-strong team - who won China's first ever team gold medal at the Beijing Olympics last week - are far younger than the minimum age of 16. He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan and Yang Yilin were all too young to compete, AP reports.
AP based its reports on registration lists filed by Chinese authorities in the years 2004 to 2006. Subsequent media reports have mentioned articles by Chinese official press agency Xinhua.
Much of this information has since been pulled by Chinese authorities, but enterprising hackers have found digital remnants of incriminating files.
Search engine hacker Stryde Hax has unearthed copies of official registration documents by Chinese sporting authorities (the General Administration of Sport) that show the age of a Chinese double gold medal winning gymnast to be 14 - two years younger than the age that appears on her government-issued passport. The Excel files, purged by censors from the official site and from Google's document cache, were found in the document translation cache of Chinese search engine Baidu.
Stryde Hax's findings (here) reveal that He Kexin, who won individual gold on the uneven bars as well as a team gold, was born on 1 January 1994 (rather than 1992, as per her official passport and birth certificate). Under competition rules introduced to protect youngsters, gymnasts must be aged 16 during the year of an Olympics in order to be eligible. Younger girls have more flexible bodies, giving them an unfair advantage.
All this ought to be the focus of an investigation by the International Olympics Committeee or the gymnastics governing body; but such is the desire of both to avoid doing anything to offend their Chinese hosts that it's very unlikely anything will happen.
Questioned about the age controversy, IOC President Jacques Rogge said it wasn't its role to check up on the age of athletes. "The IOC relies on the international federations, who are exclusively responsible for the eligibility of athletes," Rogge said. "It's not the task of the IOC to check every one of the 10,000 athletes."
The minimum age for gymnasts was raised from 14 to 15 in the 1980s, then to 16 in 1997. Issues of age falsification aren't new; North Korea, Romania and China have all fielded underage competitors in the past, AP notes.
Olympic games medallists Gina Gogean and Alexandra Marinescu of Romania and Sydney Olympics double bronze medalist Yang Yun of China all competed under the eligible age, they have since admitted. North Korea was kicked out of the 1993 world championships after it was discovered that had listed a gold medallist at the previous games as being only 15 for three years on the trot.
Stryde Hax (the nom-de plume of Mike Walker, a principal consultant for the security outfit Intrepidus Group) said he doesn't have strong opinions about the age limit for gymnastic competitions, and simply undertook his investigation out of intellectual curiosity. He adds that he has nothing against the Chinese people either.
"While I may disagree with the effort the Chinese government is making to conceal this young woman's age, I have the utmost respect for the Chinese people," he writes, "and I believe that united they will be able to make state-sponsored censorship a thing of the past." ®
USA becoming like China
I see on another item of my newsletter from The Register that George Bush , the Murderous (er sorry - Born again Christian) President that the Americans are going to become even less free.
"Bush makes last-minute grab for civil-liberties"
It is about the way he is organising the loss of even more liberty/freedom for the unfortunate yanks . Who still think they are in the land of the free.
Peace and Joy to you
@ Ignorant Anonymous Coward
"Christina Ohorogu or whatever she is a cheat (read the papers if you care)"
Think you'll find, if you read the documentation - and got a clue - that she was suspended due to missing out-of-season testing. Asside from the obvious fact that nobody, even the governing bodies, *ever* suggested she took drugs, also pointed out by the fact she is indeed allowed to compete in the olympic games.
The testing she was subject to and missed, which she was suspended for, asside being one of if not *the* most stringent in the world (people on police bail have an easier time of things), works in a way that it's very easy to miss testing by being like say - on holiday.
The fact of the matter is she made a mistake, was pushed for it and is now time-served.
As for the other guys, yeah no argument - these people aren't celebrated now, the fact is that at the time nobody knew.
If you want to talk about current drugs cheats lets look at all the IAAF suspensions of the Russian women's 1500M runners..
Those students at Kent State University were engaged in RIOTING and hurling stones at the troops.
The troops were correct to open fire on them, Or do you condone acts of rioting , without any response from the law.
Please don't give me any crap about they were really nice guys expressing some democratic rights.
Here in NZ , the Cops or Soldiers can shoot rioters ,if they carry on after the Riot Act is read out. If I was reading it I would do it really fast!