Following the Chinese Olympic gymnastic team’s age scandal back in 2008, many reports have come out revealing the brutal lives of the child gymnast in China. These children live and breathe gymnastics, most of them boarding permanently at their training schools at the behest of their parents, who are spurred by dreams of national glory. I’m all for athletic pursuit for home and country, but most of these kids go into intense training before they turn six. Is this child abuse? Take a look, and let us know what you think.
It’s particularly sad to read interviews with athletes like 16-year-old Chinese gymnast Yang Yilin, who couldn’t even say whether her parents were watching when she won the bronze in the 2008 Olympics. And then there’s the flip side, where if a young Chinese athlete thanks her parents before her country, China chastises her and demands a public apology. Brutal.