International Olympic Committee Investigates Underage Gymnasts Claims

Olympic committee probes evidence that China's gymnasts are underage.

ByABC News
September 25, 2008, 6:27 AM

BEIJING, Aug. 22, 2008 -- The International Olympic Committee today asked the international gymnastics federation, known as the FIG, to examine the ages of Chinese gymnasts in light of potential evdience that at least one of them is younger than 16.

In addition, U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Jim Scherr said his organization sent a letter to the IOC and the FIG asking them to "the review the matter to see if they can't resolve it for the good of the competition, the integrity of the competition and the good of all the athletes." The new search for information comes after persistent media accounts that recently crowned Olympic gold medal gymnast He Kexin competed in earlier domestic competitions using a birthdate that made her ineligible to compete in the Beijing Olympics.

A U.S. blogger known as Stryde Hax wrote Thursday that he had uncovered Chinese state documents that proved He is 14 and not 16, which is the minimun age requirement to compete in the Olympics. The blogger found the documents on the Internet using the cache feature of two Internet search engines. The cache tool allows users to go back and view Web sites that are no longer available for viewing.

The blogger said he found documents that the Chinese government has since taken offline. Although they had been partially removed from Google's cache, the blogger said he then found them on the Chinese search engine, Baidu.