The FIG, the international governing body of gymnastics, has recommended that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) strip the Chinese women’s gymnastic team of their 2000 Olympic bronze medal for violating competition age requirements. The two gymnasts at the center of this investigation were Dong Fangxiao (董方霄) and Yang Yun (杨云).
After a lengthy investigation (which included interviews with both gymnasts and their parents), the FIG ruled that Dong Fangxiao, had violated the competition rules at the time of the women’s team competition in Sydney, Australia. When Dong competed in 2000, her birth date was listed as January 20, 1983. However, when Dong was an accredited official at the Beijing Olympics, her birthday was listed as January 23, 1986.
Yang, on the other hand, was let off with a stern warning. Yang had said in an interview in 2007, that she was 14 years old during the 2000 Olympics. Regarding her case, the FIG said, “the concrete and objective evidence available is insufficient to prove that the birth date indicated on the official documents was falsified.”
The final decision about the Olympic medal will be in the hands of the IOC. If China is stripped of the bronze medal from the team competition, the medal would go to the team from the United States.
Dong was also a member of the Chinese team that won the bronze medal at the 1999 World Championships. That medal is also in doubt.