The Beijing 2008 Olympics have been nothing short of incredible. There have been great individual story lines and great individual achievements. There have been inspiring stories of overcoming difficult circumstances to not only compete in, but, excel in the Olympics. Who can argue with such amazing displays of athletic ability?
The Olympic Games, though, have not been without controversy. Surely everyone who has paid any attention to the Olympics has heard the claims that at least one of the Chinese women’s gymnasts, He Kexin, is under the legal competitive age of 16. In fact, numerous articles and discussions have flooded the internet and blogging circles documenting the stranglehold it’s had on our minds and desire for truth. There have been numerous calls for the IOC to investigate the allegations and avoid playing politics, all to apparently no avail.
Until now. Answering the cries of critics, the IOC, according to FoxNews and The Times Online, has begun an investigation into the accusations levelled against the Chinese. Though someone somewher may not like the outcome and though it may scar the event and dampen the excitement, the IOC owes it to everyone to investigate these allegations.
They owe it to the world. Over a billion people have watched the Olympics and surely the majority of them knows about the complaints. In a world where there seems to be more and more injustice, especially by people in position and power, against those who otherwise appear powerless, the international community needs to see truth and justice win out, whatever that may be and regardless of who’s involved. They IOC cannot be seen as condoning cheating.
The IOC owes the investigation to the gymnasts who competed legally in the event. It doesn’t matter if that includes Chinese, American, Russian, Cuban or Italian gymnasts. They owe it to all of the participants to ensure that the competition was fair and just, that the rules were followed, and that the safety of someone’s child has been ensured . If the Chinese, particularly, are of age, that truth deserves affirmation for the sake of those girls and their families. If not, they will forever bear the burden of the world’s doubt.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, the IOC owes it to the hosts and the people of China. The Olympic Games have been spectacular from the torch run to the Opening Ceremony to the individual events. But the allegations have left a black mark on the face of the Chinese people and its government who claims innocence. The guilty are innocent until proven innocent, or so we say. However, in many people’s eyes, China appears guilty and has already been judged and found guilty in many courts of opinion. The IOC owes it to the Chinese people, if they are innocent, to address the issues once and for all and fully investigate it. If they are innocent, they will be proven innocent and, after all of the dialogue and innuendo, they would deserve the exoneration.