Changing China

Giant on the move

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Spare a thought for He in gymnastics row (Update)

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He KexinWhatever the results of the investigation into the date of birth of He Kexin, China’s double Olympic gold medallist, I hope we don’t lose sight of the fact that even in the event of any subterfuge the gymnast herself would not be the one to blame.

The International Olympic Committee has asked the gymnastics federation to check He’s date of birth of following claims that she might be under the minimum age to compete.

He herself was given a pretty rough ride by reporters during press conferences at these Games, with at least one journalist trying to catch her out by asking her what her star sign was.

She has also been asked to “prove” in a press conference that she really was 16. You can’t help wondering how she was supposed to do that.

Too much, too young for Olympic gymnasts?

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Cheng FeiThe more I watch the women’s gymnastics competitions the more I’m torn between amazement at the athleticism on display and horror at what can seem at times like cruel and unusual punishment.

Most elite athletes put themselves through gruelling training regimes — not to mention the mental toll that the stress of competition must take — but few are quite so young as the women’s gymnasts

Day six at the Games: Roger Federer’s miserable year

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FedererRoger Federer came to Beijing hoping for a singles gold medal to ease the pain of losing the last two major finals and his number one ranking to Rafa Nadal.

Tennis at the Olympics may rank far below the Grand Slams but considering he has not won one of those this year a gold medal would still have served very nicely, thanks very much.

It ain’t Confucius’s China any more…

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He knew it the second he landed.

Gymnast Yang Wei knew that mathematically, emotionally, historically and rightfully the men’s all-around Olympic title was his – and the overwhelmingly partisan home-town crowd knew it too.

There was no need for Yang or for his supporters to wait the seemingly interminable minutes for the judges to review his performance on the horizontal bar – as the final participant in the sixth and final rotation of the championship, his lead was so strong that it would have taken a disaster to knock him out of first.

Oxana’s battle to save her son’s life

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German gymnast Oxana Chusovitina is getting ready for her fifth Olympics for a third country in August. That would be by itself unusual enough under normal circumstances.  

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The fact that the 32-year-old — who began her career for the Soviet Union before its demise and then for her native Uzbekistan before moving to Germany — is twice the age of some of her rivals in a sport long the domain of teenagers is another feat on its own.

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