As if to fulfill the worst stereotypes of itself, the International Olympic Committee issued a statement today insisting that there is no evidence of any falsification of the age of Chinese gymnasts — citing the simple fact that they have valid Chinese passports. This is also the first indication that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been put on the IOC. In the meantime, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) — the organization will do the investigation — has previously said that a passport is all that is required to “prove” age despite prior falsifications of that very document.
While the IOC has asked for a formal investigation, it insists that it merely wants to “put to rest” the allegations.
Spokeswoman Giselle Davies stated “We believe the matter will be put to rest and there’s no question … on the eligibility. The information we have received seems satisfactory in terms of the correct documentation — including birth certificates.”
Chinese coach Lu Shanzhen stated that it has produced new documents on Thursday, including an old passport, residency card and her current ID card. Lu added, “If these valid documents are not enough to clarify this problem, then what will you believe?” Well, since China has previously lied about the ages of its gymnasts, it is a bit forced to wonder why the world is skeptical. Yang Yun, a double bronze medalist in Sydney, said admitted on China Central Television that she was 14 in 2000. China was just as indignant in 2000 and produced false documents.
FIG insists that the “accepted proof of a gymnast’s eligibility.” This should be a fast investigation if that is the standard. There is mounting allegations of falsification, here. Obviously, this type of fraud rarely occurs without the support and involvement of the country issuing the passport.
Between the highly flawed scoring (again) at the Olympics and this scandal, the FIG appears to be a virtual ship of fools to many outsiders.
Yet, it is the outrage of the Chinese officials that it most incredible in this scandal. Lu stated: “It’s not just me. The parents of our athletes are all very indignant. They have faced groundless suspicion. Why aren’t they believed? Why are their children suspected?” Of course, the Chinese media is not widely reporting that the country has a history of lying to the OIC and fraud upon the FIG. That might help Chinese parents understand why their children are suspected.