One of the debates during these 2008 Olympics has been over the ages of several members of the Chinese gymnastics team, all in posession passports stating they are the minimum allowed age of 16 (with the ever so discreet birthdate of 1/1/1992…geesh, where'd they learn to make their fake IDs? At least they didn't give them the name McLovin). Ironically, in this highly-censored nation, it was actually a Chinese newspaper that reported team members were as young as 13.
Now, while they are breaking the rules by having underage girls competing when there is a minimum age set (supposedly for the safety and well-being of athletes all over the world), it does all seem a little silly. After all, American swimmer Amanda Beard did win a gold medal and two silvers in her first Olympics in Atlanta at the tender age of 14. What makes a 13-year-old gymnast any less fit to compete than a 14-year-old swimmer?
In my opinion, the spirit of the Olympics is to bring together a collection of the worlds greatest athletes in the sports that are represented. If that person happens to not be able to get into a PG-13 movie by themselves, does that really make them a less deserving athlete? Not in my book, even if it costs the US of A a few medals, and it's time for all the Olympic sports entities to get on the same page.