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Stretching Out: Chinese Ages & New Olympic Format
(5 votes, average 4.20 out of 5)

As we wait for the 2010 competition season to warm up, IG Editor Dwight Normile takes a detailed look at a few issues involving numbers.

FIG - China

As reported an an earlier Stretching Out, a Disciplinary Committee will announce on Feb. 26 whether Chinese gymnasts Dong Fangxiao and Yang Yun were too young at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. When North Korea submitted various birthdates for Kim Gwang Suk in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the North Korean women were banned from the 1993 worlds. Didn't the North Koreans try to say it was a typo, a mistake, human error? That's what the Chinese camp has been saying.

If the FIG's Disciplinary Committee delivers a guilty verdict next month, what will the FIG do? Will it ban the Chinese women from the 2010 worlds, which is the beginning of the qualification to the 2012 Olympics? I doubt it will prevent the defending Olympic champs from qualifying to the next Olympics. But I suppose their 2000 medals will be stripped.

World and Olympic Team Size

I find it odd that the team size for the 2010 and 2011 World Championships will remain at six, when the 2012 Olympics will feature five-member teams. I suppose the upside is that one more gymnast gets to experience a world championships, even if he or she never makes it to the Olympics.

Here's the format information from the 2010 Technical Regulations, which can be downloaded from the FIG website (Click on Rules).

Reg. 5.1.3 Qualifying Team and Individual Competition (Competition I)

The results obtained determine…

• the qualification for Competitions II, III and IV

• the ranking of the teams placed 9th or lower

• the ranking of the all-around competitors placed 25th or lower.

• in the year prior to the Olympic Games, the qualification of the teams and individuals for participation in the Olympic Games.

This competition is organized by a rotation of Groups, a Group comprising either a team of 4 to 6 (OG: 5) gymnasts entered by national federations or teams formed from individual gymnasts of different federations. A team shall provide for not more than 5 gymnasts (OG: 4) to compete on any single piece of apparatus and the 4 (OG: 3) highest scores will be taken into account for the team total.

Don't be confused by the phrase "a Group comprising … a team of 4 to 6," which merely means that a team could technically compete in Competition I (qualifications) with only four gymnasts, since the format is 6-5-4 (four scores count).

So the 2012 Olympics will feature a 5-4-3 format in prelims, and 5-3-3 in team finals. I'd vote for any other format for the team finals (5-5-5, 5-5-4, 5-4-4 or 5-4-3), anything to put more routines on display. I think more gymnasts deserve the chance to compete in the medal round, and spectators, who paid a lot of money for tickets, deserve to see more gymnastics.

Alternate Rule

If a gymnast is injured during qualifications, he or she can be replaced by the team alternate in the team finals (with approval of the concerned Technical President, and if the injury is certified by the official competition medical authority).

Comments (14)add comment

NoJusticeForRovaANDShannon said:

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If they take the medals away from the Chinese from 00 they better fix all the wrong doings.

Gutsu NOT really being injured and competing and being overscored by cheating judges Nelli Kim giving her a ten on bars. (she also gave one to Bogi ON BARS) The Soviets LIED and broke the rules. Where is the justice for that? There can never be justice for poor Roza and Miller was robbed twice. Once by the cheating Soviets and once by the cheating judges


Daniela Silivas, Marinescu and Gogean all being too young to compete and there are a lot more.

ALL of these things have been known for years and the FIG or IOC or whatever incompetent idiot in charge of the sports world did NOTHING about it.
 
January 22, 2010 | url
Votes: +9

munch said:

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Precedent is totally against them. Silvas wasn't underage at the olympics, but Gogean was, are they going to confiscate that medal? And I think I'm right in saying that whoever was fourth on bars at the 2000 olympics (Karpenko?) won't really consider the medal hers. And if they strip the team one, the Americans probably won't feel like it's their medal either.
 
January 22, 2010
Votes: +6

Noelle said:

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I'd agree. Anything more than 5-3-3 would be better. WHY WHY WHY is the FIG making so many cuts everywhere!!?!?!? First they cut compulsories, cut the 15 year olds out of competition, and team format has gone from 6-5-4 to 6-3-3 to 5-3-3??? I just don't understand.
 
January 22, 2010
Votes: +4

scig said:

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Why don't they bring back the age limits to 14. As a communist country, China will always forge the birth certificates. If Nastia Liukin was Chinese she would have been at the 2004 olympics.
 
January 23, 2010 | url
Votes: -2

Tyson said:

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More routines!
I completely agree with "I think more gymnasts deserve the chance to compete in the medal round, and spectators, who paid a lot of money for tickets, deserve to see more gymnastics"! It's a travesty that the number of routines we get to see is so limited these days. Back when there was 6-6-5 in both rounds of team competition was the absolute value for the money/effort put into it.
 
January 24, 2010 | url
Votes: +4

Janafan4Ever said:

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As far as banning China, the only thing I can say in defense of them not qualifying is that it would probably send a stronger message than the simple medal stripping would. China will always probably feel they deserved the Sydney bronze whether they have the medals or not, kind of like USA and the 1988 mistake. Being knocked out of competition for three years though will actually feel like a punishment.

I do question how far back to take it. If you look at the teams in the 1980s, we know USSR and Romania for sure falsified ages at least at some points and if they redistribute the medals it's going to get more complicated than the 2000 case would. For Sydney, China only won the bronze, so they just have to find those six girls and then locate the six Americans. With teams like the USSR and Romania, you have to find all six gold medalists and all six silver medalists (many of whom live in other countries), collect the medals, then locate the six bronze medalists (if their DOBs are okay that is) and get their medals, give gold to the bronze, find the six members of the fourth place teams and give the silver to them, and the six from the fifth place team and give the bronze to them. And that's assuming that those teams all have their DOBs in order. The other powerhouses around then were all Eastern Bloc countries too. Sounds like a major headache. If the FIG is going to take this initiative then I admire them finally stepping forward, but I have doubts on how well it will work.
 
January 25, 2010
Votes: +0

Frank Hui said:

Frank Hui
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I'm not going to get into the Chinese issue as I doubt the FIG can come up with anything truly satifying to deal with the issue of age falsification.

As far as the lame 5-4-3 rule, part of the blame goes to the IOC. There are only so many teams and athletes allowed during the Olympics. This paring down of Olympians and routines is most likely being done to make room for other disciplines-even other gymnastics disciplines. Personally I much preferred back in the early 90s when they had the 7-6-5 rule or even the 6-5-4 rule. Both allowed a more level playing field but still realistically reflected the difference in quality of the different nations. And it allowed utilization of specialists without screwing over the All-Around.

To me the latter is even a bigger travesty with the 2 per country rule. the way the All-Around competition is now is a shadow of its former self despite how good the resulting medalists are. Recall the days way back when where the actual top 36 scorers ALL went onto the all-around
 
January 25, 2010
Votes: +6

lala said:

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The only way they will learn is if they are banned and lose the medals but they better do it for everyone and not just that 2000 team because everyone deserves justice.

People are so concerned about an innocent gymnast losing their medal because their federation cheated but what about the gymnasts cheated out of a medal? Dn't they count to?
 
January 26, 2010
Votes: +1

Janafan4Ever said:

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What kills me is gymnastics has to drop their quota to allow more individuals because the IOC doesn't want to add more athletes - but golf is getting in. Gymnastics is way more worthy to be in the Olympics than golf.

And well said, Mr. Normile, about the "Equal Opportunity Games." I thought it was supposed to be about the World's best.
 
January 26, 2010
Votes: +1

Vicki said:

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The reduction in numbers of artistic team members is an absolutely ridiculous decision. The viewers are getting ripped off by seeing fewer routines and the gymnasts, especially, are hurt by these changes as many deserving athletes will never make it to the Olympics and others yet will get to perform one routine in prelims as reward for all of their hard work. Worse yet, there is no logical justification for this reduction in team members.
1) The initial lame excuse for cutting down team sizes was to "make it fair to the small countries." (Has anyone ever cut down soccer teams to half their size for the same reason?) Which small country has this move helped? You still see the same teams at the top -- the competition is just much more random. The only country that was helped by the number reduction is China (b/c of a tendency to sub-specialize their athletes). I don't have anything against China, but they don't exactly need any help.
2) Want to see the top eight teams compete head-to-head in team finals (which was another excuse)? You can have teams travel through byes (like NCAA) or you can, at the very least, have the top four, if not five, athletes compete for each country.
3) The number of team athletes needed to be reduced to accommodate individuals from countries without a team. This is the only point that is somewhat valid, but the spots could have been taken from somewhere else. a) There could be a point system for individuals (which would allow an event medalist to gain a spot over all-arounder #186 from a well-represented continent). b) The spots could be gained from another gymnastics discipline. Right now, you will have exactly the same number of team athletes for artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. It's OK for rhythmic to have its niche, but isn't it ridiculous for a fringe sport with a limited number of participants and followers to have as many spots as one of the legendary staples of the Olympics? Even in countries that actually follow rhythmic, it far lacks in popularity behind artistic. Exactly how many former Soviet states need to be represented? (It's as though Track & Field awarded an equal number of spots to speed walkers as runners.)
 
January 27, 2010
Votes: +0

gojira said:

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Still .... ?
I thought all the Chinese age stuff was settled long ago?
 
February 02, 2010
Votes: -1

observer said:

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2 per country rule
i actually agree with the 2 per country rule - if you take that out then it would be easy for a country who pours millions of dollars into the sport to stack the finals with their entire team, while countries who may have gymnasts who are just as good if they got the same funding miss out. th 2 per country rule IMO just makes things fair, and the whole olympic spirit is about fairness not money (supposedly).
 
February 24, 2010
Votes: +0

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paper-writing.services said:

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I am wondering why are you talking about some new Olympic format? What is the reason for changing it?
 
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