Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic jingoism poisons Olympic spirit

So, the women's gymnastics team competition is going on, and they just showed the Chinese vault. One of their competitors, Deng something or other, is remarkably short, apparently even for a gymnast, according to the commentators.

So one of the commentators helpfully pointed out that all the gymnast's ages are "quote, verified, unquote" by their passports, so that on paper at least Deng Xiaojie is at the required age of 16.

What the heck is up with the scare quotes? If you're supplementing the commentary with the note that all the competitors, including this short one, are 16 or over, then you'd just say "verified". So you're snarkily implying that maybe the Chinese are faking their documents.

Got any evidence? Care to follow up? No? Then maybe you should have KEPT YOUR TRAP SHUT in the first place. Jerk.

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Sarah said...

Apparently there's a big controversy over the age of the Chinese gymnasts. It's nicely covered in an article in the New York Times. I particularly enjoyed the Italian coaches comments:

Enrico Casella, the coach of the Italian women’s team, had an idea to do away with age questions: create weight classes. That way, gymnasts of similar weight could compete more equally against one another, and the age minimum could be scrapped.

Until then, he said, there will always be rumors that athletes are too young. Looks could be deceiving, he said.

“By looks, you could say that the United States is using doping,” Casella said. “They are so muscular. My gymnasts in Italy aren’t that big. You begin to wonder how they got that way.”