The International Olympic Committee acted after investigations by the sport’s governing body determined that Dong Fangxiao was only 14 at the 2000 Games. Gymnasts must turn 16 during the Olympic year to be eligible.
The IOC also told the Chinese to “ensure, by all means, that the athletes and officials of its delegation comply with all rules and regulations (of the international federation) particularly with regard to age limits.”
Questions about Dong’s eligibility arose during the FIG’s investigation into the ages of China’s team that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games. Media reports and Internet records suggested some of the girls on that team could have been as young as 14.
The FIG cleared the Beijing Games gymnasts in October 2008 after Chinese officials provided original passports, ID cards and family registers showing all of the gymnasts were old enough to compete. But the FIG said it wasn’t satisfied with “the explanations and evidence provided to date” for Dong and a second gymnast, Yang Yun.
Dong’s accreditation information for the Beijing Olympics, where she worked as a national technical official, listed her birthday as Jan. 23, 1986. That would have made her 14 in Sydney — too young to compete. Her birth date in the FIG database is listed as Jan. 20, 1983.
Dong’s blog also said she was born in the Year of the Ox in the Chinese zodiac, which dates from Feb. 20, 1985, to Feb. 8, 1986.