Underaged Chinese Gymnasts? Wednesday, Aug 13 2008 

So, in (God help me!) my final Olympics posting for the night, I just heard Bela Karolyi saying that he believes the Chinese women’s (girls’!) gymnastics team may be under the required age of 16 (which is a relatively recent rule change). So I looked around online, and turns out that’s not just him saying that, there’s a lot of speculation about it. Now China, who blocks free use of the internet and won’t allow Google to operate there unless they block searches on things like democracy (I’m sure I don’t have the details right, but you remember that controversy), would never, never, fake documentation of age, would it? They are desperate to win the medal count, even figured out their required number of medals to win…I don’t doubt they would do it for a second. Earlier in the evening I was noticing one girl in particular looked really small. Not thin, just really small.

Well, who knows.

Anyway, here are some of the interesting articles I found:

NYT: Athletes Only as Old as China Says They Are (aka “turn a blind eye”)

IHT: Records suggest Chinese gymnasts might be underage (aka “guilty, guilty, guilty)

National Post: China, IOC deny charges of underage gymnasts (aka “who, us?”)

China Pays People to Attend Olympic Events Wednesday, Aug 13 2008 

Maybe this is normal, I don’t know, but it looks to me like old school Communist propaganda, really even propaganda that pre-dates Communism, stuff that makes me think of the old “Potemkin village” thing.

Apparently unhappy that there are empty seats at some venues, China has been paying people to attend.

Seven-Year-Old Not Pretty Enough to Sing for China Tuesday, Aug 12 2008 

And we thought obsession with looks was over the top in America!

The little girl who sang in China’s impressive opening ceremonies was actually lip-synching. The SEVEN-YEAR-OLD actual singer was not considered pretty enough. Can you even imagine?

Read about it here.