After the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the IOC launched an investigation into the ages of China's women's gymnastics team, because it seemed very possible that a few members were not women at all, but actually pre-adolescent girls. The '08 gymnasts were eventually cleared, but it came out that a '00 Olympian gymnast — Dong Fangxiao — was only 14 years old when she competed in Sydney.
China's athletic federations may not have taken a real lesson from the controversy. The AP is reporting today that as many as nine Chinese figure skaters may have violated age regulations at various international competitions. The list includes Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao, who won a silver medal for pairs skating in Turin in 2006, and Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, the country's next emerging pairs team. Sui, shown above, is reportedly just 13 years old. At first glance, even that number seems generous.
As of now, nobody has much to say regarding the charges. The Chinese Skating Associate and the General Administration of Sport of China had not responded to the AP at press time, and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said he would "ask his staff" about the allegations. "Definitely, if there is a discrepancy it must be solved," Rogge said. He added, "I will check with my sports department."
Sounds like a good place to start, Mr. Rogge.