After giving the United States an numerical opportunity to overtake them — a chance the Americans squandered — the Chinese women’s gymnastics team won the gold medal; although, there are lots of questions surrounding the ages of some of the Chinese competitors. In order to compete in Olympic gymnastics, the team members had to be 16 or older.
A report in the New York Times was the first to shed light on the situation:
Online records listing Chinese gymnasts and their ages that were posted on official Web sites in China, along with ages given in the official Chinese news media, however, seem to contradict the passport information, indicating that He and Jiang may be as young as 14 — two years below the Olympic limit.
Regardless of the questions about age, the U.S. did have an opportunity to take the gold from China after a couple of sub-par balance beam routines. Alas, it was the balance beam that was the undoing for Team USA as well, especially for Alicia Sacramone who fell awkwardly as she was beginning her routine. The troubles continued when the US took to the floor exercises as all three performers — Sacramone, Shawn Johnson, and Nastia Liukin — made noticeable mistakes.
After that, the gold was China’s.
It’s doubtful anything will come of China’s potential age-gate; however, that doesn’t mean everyone believes the competitors are legitimate either — especially US Coach, Marta Karolyi.