Posted tagged ‘Alicia Sacramone’

Sources: No Proof Chinese Team Cheated in Gymnastics

August 22, 2008

We may finally have an answer to a question which has been highly debated since the Summer Olympics began: How old are the Chinese gymnasts and are they old enough to compete? Unfortunately for some, this may not be the answer which was hoped for.

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay (GERMANY)

Nastia Liukin, Alicia Sacramone and Shawn Johnson Credit: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay (GERMANY)


Despite persistent questions about the ages of several members of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team that won the gold medal, the International Olympic Committee said Friday there is still no proof anyone cheated and believes the controversy will be “put to rest.”

The IOC asked the International Gymnastics Federation to investigate “what have been a number of questions and apparent discrepancies,” spokeswoman Giselle Davies said. But all of the information the Chinese gymnastics federation has presented so far supports its insistence that its athletes were old enough to compete.

If the federation had found evidence that the gymnasts were underage, it could have affected four of China’s medals. In addition to the team gold and He Kexin’s gold on bars, Yang Yilin won bronze medals in the all-around and uneven bars.

Chinese coach Lu Shanzhen told The Associated Press they gave the FIG new documents on Thursday to try to remove any doubts about He’s age, including an old passport, residency card and her current ID card.

It has been an interesting time at the Olympics for the Chinese gymnastics team. Internet records and media reports suggest three Chinese gymnasts might be as young as 14. A gymnast must be 16 years old in an Olympic year to compete at the games. But questions about the ages of at least three of the athletes have persisted. I cannot say for certain if any of the gymnasts are underage. But after reading the media reports, and seeing the gymnasts on television, I have a hard time believing that a few of them are 16 years of age. Thoughts?


IOC To Investigate Chinese Gymnasts

August 22, 2008

The rumors of underage Chinese gymnasts may end up being true according to a report from the New York Times.

From the article:

The International Olympic Committee has asked the world governing body for gymnastics to investigate whether members of the Chinese women’s team were too young to compete in the Olympics.

The I.O.C. instructed the international gymnastics federation, known as F.I.G., to take up the issue with the Chinese gymnastics federation and report back to the I.O.C. later Friday.

The New York Times reported last month that 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, indicated that members of the team might be as young as 14. A gymnast must turn 16 in the year of the Olympics to compete in the Games. Chinese officials responded by providing copies of passports indicating that the athletes in question were eligible.

According to online sports registration lists in China, half the team — He Kexin, Yang Yilin, Jiang Yuyuan — would be under age. The F.I.G., however, has said that those gymnasts were eligible and that the ages on their passports were correct.

If members of the team are found to be underage, they will be disqualified and stripped of the medals they have won at the 2008 games. The Americans would be awarded the all-around gold and Nastia Liukin would take the gold in the uneven bars. Sounds like this could be great news for the Americans including Liukin, Alicia Sacramone and Shawn Johnson. Thoughts?

Shawn Johnson Wins Gold on Balance Beam

August 19, 2008

Shawn Johnson won gold on the women’s balance beam today with a score of 16.225. The reigning world champion edged Nastia Liukin, who finished with the silver, while Cheng Fei of China took the bronze.

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

From the New York Times:

In her final chance for a gold medal at these Olympics, Shawn Johnson hopped up on the balance beam and sparkled in her blue and red leotard, her face unsmiling and serious.

Three times, she had finished second at these Games. But for Johnson, the 16-year-old with the blinding smile, that would not be enough.

So she buried her disappointment and hit her routine, sticking to the beam on each landing, as if her feet had glue on them. Afterward, she hugged her competitors from China, then waited for the final two gymnasts to perform.

Neither of them would score higher than Johnson’s 16.225.

Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Going into the event, Johnson had the highest score at these Games so far on the beam, a 16.175. Even higher than Liukin, the reigning world champion on the beam. Even higher than Li Shanshan, who tied for a silver medal on the beam at last year’s world championships. Liukin’s and Li’s highest score on beam going into the final was 16.125.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Li was one of the favorites to win, but stumbled during her routine. She tumbled to the ground during a full twisting back handspring, when her body swung down off kilter. She hugged the beam to stay on, but could not. When her score of 15.3 appeared, she stood with her back to the wall, tears filling her eyes.

The US team did very well at the 2008 Olympic Games and this was the icing on the cake. Through all the disappointment of second place, and controversial finishes, the US women stood tall and continued to do their best. Each of the gymnists should be proud of their accomplishments and the medals they won in Beijing. Congratulations Team USA! Johnson, Liukin, Alicia Sacramone. You all did well! Thoughts?

He Defeats Liukin on Uneven Bars

August 18, 2008

China’s He Kexin won a controversial tiebreaker over all-around champion Nastia Liukin of the United States for the uneven bars gold medal today at the Olympics. The bronze went to China’s Yang Yilin, her third medal, including bronze in the all-around.

From the Associated Press:

Both scored 16.725, but He got the nod because her execution marks were closer to a perfect 10 than Liukin’s.

Liukin would not criticize the scoring system that does not award dual gold medals.

“It’s nothing I can control, and honestly, I can say it has been very fair to me, and I got the biggest gold medal of them all,” said Liukin, winner of the women’s all-around gymnastics gold.

He, at the center of an age-eligibility controversy throughout the games, was fast and furious on the bars. Her twists and flips went by in the blink of an eye, and she won by about that short a margin.

Smiley N. Pool Chronicle

Credit: Smiley N. Pool Chronicle

The US Women’s Gymnastics team has had a fabulous 2008 Summer Olympics. With individual medals won by Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin and the team consisting of Alicia Sacramone and Chellsie Memmel, the team should be very happy with their results this year and looking forward to London in 2012. Thoughts?

U.S. Gymnastics Delay Sparks Dispute: Who’s To Blame?

August 14, 2008

Did they or didn’t they? There have been reports today that stadium staff, during last nights women’s team gymnastics final, distracted Alicia Sacramone so much that it caused her to make mistakes that ruined the teams hopes of an Olympic gold medal.

From the Associated Press:

Alicia Sacramone admitted nerves got the better of her in the women’s team final against China, USA Gymnastics distanced itself the from remarks made by Martha Karolyi, the team coordinator.

Karolyi said immediately after the US loss to China that officials at Beijing’s National Indoor Stadium disrupted Sacramone’s beam routine by delaying her performance for an extended period, breaking her concentration.

“First they called her name up, then they did not even put her name up even though the Chinese had finished … (it was) totally unusual holding,” she said.

“She was mentally prepared and then she had a mental break, then after not doing the job, the beam, on the floor exercise her concentration was bothered.”

Sacramone not only ell off the balance beam, she also slipped during the floor exercise, opening the way for the Chinese to win the gold medal. Karolyi insisted the US team would have won gold if Sacramone had not become unsettled.

Whether or not this is true has yet to be determined, and it may never be solved. The fact of the matter is that mistakes were made throughout the evening and in the end, the US ended up with the silver. I did not watch much of this, but from what I saw, China was the better team. They had the poise and professionalism which was needed to win the gold and they executed to near perfection throughout the night.

Although they took the silver, we should all be proud of this accomplishment for the team overall. It’s not easy to win a medal of any color at the Olympics. Thoughts?