How does the current age limit of 16 protect these athletes?
The IOC doesn't have any age restrictions to come to the Olympics. They allow each sports governing body to impose the rules they see fit. The FIG (gymnastics international governing body) had a rule of 14 back in the 1970's when Olga Korbit (1972) and Nadia Comanche (1976) were competing, changed it to 15 in the 1980's, and finally to 16 in 1992 (Barcelona).
The rule for gymnastics is that the athlete must turn 16 by the end of the Olympic year they compete in.
They cite the fact that the pressure for the younger kids to perform, younger athletes are smaller and thus have an advantage, are more flexible and thus have an advantage, and are still developing muscularly and skeletally are the reasons for this age restriction.
I question this because if these girls couldn't compete at the Olympics they are still eligible for the Junior World Championships where they'd be under the same pressure and doing the same routines. Wouldn't this make the reasons listed above moot?
If they throw out this silly rule there will be no hard feelings, no controversy, no lying by host NOCs and governments, and it won't put kids in the middle where they're told to lie if asked about their ages.
It will be a real shame if these girls have their medals stripped from them because of decisions made by adults and administrators on their behalf.
I hope this addresses your question.
· 1 decade ago