Friday, August 22, 2008

Olympics: Another sign of bias from Western media and the US over China’s success in artistic gymnastics

By China Watcher

Nine out of fourteen events were exactly what the Chinese gymnastic team was successfully in securing gold in the ongoing Summer Olympics which can only be matched by the unified Commonwealth of Independent States led by Russia back in 1992 in Barcelona.

The success has actually created lots of jealously and disbelief, once again, from the Western media and especially, the loudest noises coming from the two former Romanian coaches who are now in charge of the US gymnastic team. The two coaches from the former Eastern Bloc tried to play “angel” and make pointing accusations that a few Chinese women team members were under the pre-requisite age of 16 years at the time of the Games. The coaches’ behaviors during the Games were rude and unbecoming as “invited guests” in a host country. The women coach was the worse and she started calling the Chinese girls “little” dwarves. The two coaches, if I am not mistaken, were responsible for the greatest gymnast ever generated by the Olympics, Nadia Comaneci and she was only 14 years when she struck a handful of gold medals with perfect 10s. The Romanian girls were young and yet, the two coaches did not stop these girls from participating although the rules on age were much lower then. What ethical morals do these two former Romanian coaches possessed in condemning the Chinese women team?

The Western media, which is persistently looking for any opportunities to hammer the Chinese, picked up the age controversy and started to look for “evidences”. The internet forum particularly from the West claimed that the Chinese press reported earlier that some participants were born much later than the dates which were officially accepted by the Games official. There was one article which called for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to investigate the so-called under-age participants involving the Chinese gymnastic women team or else the IOC credibility will be further tarnished.

I do agree that the China's team did look noticeably younger than the Americans but the US team has two 20-year-olds on their team. The Japanese gymnasts were just as small as the Chinese and there was not even a tinge of suspicion being created over their age. Chinese women gymnasts in past World Cups and International meets have been small and I do not think that is a reason to doubt their participating age. The small built has got to do with race and genetic make-up of Asians.

The Federation on International Gymnastics (FIG) has said repeatedly that a passport is the "accepted proof of a gymnast's eligibility," and that the Chinese gymnastics bodies have presented the women team members’ entrance forms and the certified supporting documents which showed that they were within the eligible age. The IOC have also checked the girls' passports and deemed them valid before the games began.

According to the coach of the Chinese team, the parents of these athletes were very angry that the issue was continuously played up and that the matter was not “put to rest” even after the gymnastics competition has ended. The parents were questioning that if documents such as passports issued by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security were deemed not good then what other proof must they submit to resolve the “created controversy”. The Chinese gymnastics governing body and the gymnasts’ parents have told the Chinese press that doubting the validity of these documents is tantamount to showing no respect for Chinese certification and documents.

Although the IOC did not reveal what prompted it to ask the FIG to look into the matter again, I suspect it is the U.S. Olympic Committee who had asked the IOC to do so in order to resolve the matter. Fair play also means the ability to accept defeat but the US just cannot accept the fact that in gymnastics it has lost out to China, a country which they have always claimed did not share common acceptable human values with them.

I am just wondering other than official documents like passport from the country of origin to determine the age of a person or a birth certificate, if any, there is no other ways to ascertain the age in a convincing manner.

Today, the IOC announced that there is still no proof anyone cheated and believes the controversy will be "put to rest” as soon as possible.

But the created controversy has already damaged to a certain extent the sports relationship and exchanges between the US and China.

Even if the IOC makes an announcement the second time possibly, in the next few days, to confirm the validity of the age of the Chinese gymnastic teams, do you think that the Western media and the groups of Chinese haters would accept the outcome readily?

With such prejudicial stance, I doubt so.

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