China Wins Women’s Gymnastics

From AP, via the International Herald Tribune:

China upset the error-prone United States in the women’s gymnastics team final at the Beijing Olympics on Wednesday.

China’s score of 188.9 points was more than two points ahead of the Americans, a blowout in a competition that was supposed to be decided by the slimmest of margins.

It was the first Olympic gold for China, who beat the Americans for their first world title in 2006. And it was yet another disappointing silver medal for the Americans, who came in to the Athens Games as overwhelming favorites only to falter and lose to the Romanians.

Also read: Athletes Only as Old as China Says They Are from the New York Times:

The simmering issue over possibly under-age Chinese gymnasts did not boil over before the women’s (wink, wink) team final was settled Wednesday with the host country taking the gold from the United States rather convincingly. But why do I get the feeling that if these Olympics were happening in Chicago or Los Angeles, the story would by now be a serious cable television cause célèbre?

Larry King would be interviewing the stricken parents of victimized Americans. Hannity would be chiding Colmes about Communist child abusers. Lou Dobbs would be demanding the borders be closed to all Chinese gymnasts under 80 pounds.

Here, claims by the coaching legend Bela Karolyi that what China has done is “a slap in the face of the whole world” have barely resonated outside the gymnastic venue and across the greater Olympic community. Even his wife, Martha, the American team coordinator, did not make a big deal of it.

The international gymnastic governing body known as the F.I.G. said it was satisfied with the Chinese gymnasts’ documentation, despite reports suggesting three of the mites might be under the required age of 16. The International Olympic Committee, so heavily invested in a Games that China can be proud of, apparently does not want to know about the claim of a former Chinese gymnast that she competed at the 2000 Sydney Games as a 14-year-old.


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