Saturday, August 16, 2008
Sweet 16 without sweet tooth for Linlin of China
Legendary USA gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi has repeatedly called foul on the Chinese for allegedly allowing gymnasts under the regulation age of 16 to compete in the Olympics. He cites Deng Linlin's missing tooth (see photo above) among other discrepancies. China's team coach, Lu Shanzhen, did not offer an explanation for the missing tooth. Karolyi, who is orginally from Romania, also remarked that falsifying documents is a common practice in totalitarian regimes like China. In China, gymnasts are taken from their families at the age of 3 to train in gymnastics. They get to see their families once a year. The average height and weight of the Chinese girls is 4'9" and 77 pounds, with the tallest girl at just 5' even. The lightest Chinese team member is just 68 pounds. The average height and weight of the American girls is 5'1/2" and 106.5 pounds, with 4 of the 6 girls over 5' tall. Thus making the American team 3 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than their competitors. Younger gymnasts are smaller and able to flip easier and are usually more limber. They are also free of the injuries that older gymnasts have acquired. The controversy continues to cast a dark cloud over the team gold medal the Chinese girls won Wednesday afternoon in Beijing.