china stripped of sydney gymnastics medal

Stripped! Ten years after winning an Olympic bronze medal in Sydney, China's gymnastics team was ordered to give it back for using an underage girl. The medal now goes to the United States instead: IOC strips 2000 Games bronze medal from China.

Acting on evidence that Dong Fangxiao was only 14 at the 2000 Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee stripped the country of the women's team bronze. Gymnasts must turn 16 during the Olympic year to be eligible. We always knew something shady was going on:
Dong's accreditation information for the Beijing Olympics, where she worked as a national technical official, listed her birthday as Jan. 23, 1986. That would have made her 14 in Sydney — too young to compete. Her birth date in the FIG database is listed as Jan. 20, 1983.

Dong's blog also said she was born in the Year of the Ox in the Chinese zodiac, which dates from Feb. 20, 1985, to Feb. 8, 1986.

The FIG nullified Dong's Sydney results in February. The federation didn't find sufficient evidence to prove Yang was underage; instead, it gave her a warning.

Because Dong's scores contributed to China winning the team bronze, the FIG recommended the IOC take back the medal.
So China loses its medals, and the 2008 U.S. women's team -- Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Jamie Dantzscher, Kristin Maloney, Elise Ray and Tasha Schwikert -- walk away with more than just fond memories. They're medalists after all, a decade later. Better late than never, I suppose.

Looking back at the 2008 Beijing Olympics... does anyone else suspect we'll be hearing more stories about underage gymnasts in the near future? More here: China Stripped of Gymnastics Medal.

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