I wrote earlier here that the U.S. (not meaning necessarily the girls themselves) looked like “sore losers” when the U.S. women’s gymnastics team lost to the Chinese girls. As probably everyone knows, there have been accusations that at least one, if not several of the Chinese girls were below the legal age to compete in the Olympics.
Had the U.S. girls not made some crucial mistakes, though, I feel like they would have won and the issue would be closer to a moot point right now. But they were beaten, possibly by a team that has cheated. So after further review, especially if the Chinese are proven to have cheated, calling the U.S., particularly the girls, “sore losers” is inappropriate on my part. (Again, calling the girls themselves the “sore losers” was not my intended message, but rather the U.S. as a whole, the “we” that we hear when we collectively say “we lost” or “we won” as if we were part of the team.)
Since writing the post, there have been some great comments and I have seen a lot about the issue of whether or not there is a competitive advantage enjoyed by the younger athletes (under 16). While there is still some controversy and there are some differing opinions, it looks like the consensus opinion is that they do indeed have a competitive advantage, though how much is still debatable. So after further review, I find myself siding with those who say the 13 and 14 year olds hold at least some potential competitive advantage.
I still believe that if there is any question of cheating, then there should be a full investigation, just like U.S. and other athletes have been subject to in Olympic and non-Olympic competitions. In fact the IOC should be ashamed if they don’t investigate. But if cheating is proven, then appropriate action should be taken and the medals revoked. Unfortunately, as one of my readers commented in the first post, the real victims are the little Chinese girls whose bodies and minds will forever bear the burden of the controversy and what had to have been very strenuous physical and mental preparation prior to the games.