I agree with Angelskates - if you want truly impartial invesitgation then completely impartial people should do the investigation.
To be honest i was being hypothetical and hadn't thought ahead to how you would pick the people because, frankly, this will never happen! Another barrier to finding the actual people who can do this will be language - you would need to find people who can speak and read Chinese fluently to do this sort of research so good luck finding anyone to fit the bill who everyone is happy with.
The bottom line - if i want an impartial investigation carrying out I would not want partial people doing the invetigating (remember the WMDs?).
If you hire a professional auditing firm, there would be fewer personal agendas and less partiality.
I've often felt that the elite judging should be audited by an impartial team, but we'd have to teach CPAs all about skating, lol.
You'd also have to decide who HIRES the auditors and how they'll be paid because that in turn leads to favoritism and pressure.
This would make a good White Paper for a business school - analyzing how something as simple as a reported birthdate can impact sporting events' outcomes.
Auditability without fraud and deception is an important part of any organization, if they want to be taken seriously. At this point, the Chinese sports authority needs to clean up their act since FOUR of their sports have had problems. It wouldn't take much to create a central registry that all of the sporting groups must comply with, and have it audited regularly as a show of good will.
In fairness, I've worked as an IT specialist for years with US companies who have clerks retype information from handwritten paper lists into Excel workbooks and various computer systems. Constant manual rekeying, which results in errors. However, Manual Systems 101 says you have someone proof the input, for accuracy and for process improvement. At best case, this was slipshod work and that needs to be addressed.
I also agree that it does appear that there's a pattern here, which could mean deception and fraud. If I could make a suggestion to the list-keepers: please add the athlete's genders onto the list, so that others can understand the pattern you've identified more easily?
Frankly, they shouldn't be insulted - they must have seen a challenge coming at some point, unless they're arrogant or dim-witted. Wouldn't someone in the figure skating group have noticed that there were discrepancies in the past? That's an indicator that you have to take action, but they didn't do it before others raised the issue.
FWIW, do they really think anger and defensiveness is the correct response? That's how teenagers in the US act when they get caught doing something wrong, so most US residents with teens are immune to that response, lol. ("Yeah, yeah, the teacher was picking on you, but WHY weren't you in the classroom where you belonged?"
If someone makes a mistake, they have man up and say "There's something wrong, we'll have to audit our athletes and take the consequences." Maybe it's not part of the Chinese culture? (I'm asking, not telling.) Still, if you play on an international stage, you have to sometimes put your own culture aside and try to understand others' cultures. In this case, the US likes rules in their sports and we expect EVERYONE who plays to follow them.
Last edited by FigureSpins; 02-17-2011 at 03:08 PM. Reason: Manning up for my typos and FOUR vs. TWO sports.
Thanks! I didn't know that. That proves the need for better infrastructure and auditability across the board. If you have multiple sports involved, then they can easily create an NCAA-like registration system to ensure accuracy.
But you need people who understand what kinds of records might be available, and where they would be found, and how to interpret them, which is why I thought of genealogists from Taiwan -- they'd have the language skills, and would probably understand the types of documentation that would be good source material -- and that documentation might well vary depending on where the athletes were born and lived as young children. Professional genealogists are used to working with source data and conflicting data, and good ones in a certain sub-area (Emigrant Irish, Slovenian coal miners, Ruthenian emigrants from 1885-1910, ...) know a huge amount about the peculiarities of sources particular to certain groups, regions, religions, and cultures.
I agree with Sylvia -- China has had documented cases of falsifying ages in gymnastics, soccer, and basketball. It isn't some wild stretch to imagine that they may have engaged in the same behavior in other sports where age limit falsification poses a significant advantage.
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There's a need for them to clean up their errors and take responsibility, regardless of the cause of the discrepancies. They need to demonstrate that they've studied and put their operations in order to prevent future screwups.
OTOH, China's age issues impact current skaters who are still potentially competing and winning medals in events they should not be age-eligible for. Sui/Han are headed to Junior Worlds and we're not entirely sure they should be there, for example. If you have any other athletes in mind from sports other than skating that you feel could be underage -and currently competing, why don't you start a thread under "Other Sports" and we could all go and discuss them in the appropriate thread?
Last edited by ioana; 02-17-2011 at 04:53 PM.
Thanks, ioana. I had first pointed it out 4-5 days ago but did not recall the name of the gymnast, yet one or two FSUers scoffed. I am very happy that you remember the name of Eberle. Around that time (1980 Olys in Moscow), there was also general talk among North Am and Western European gymnastics circles about the "big bad Soviet blok" sending underage gymnasts, with photos of top Soviet and Romanian ladies (girls) with prepubescent physiques (totally flat chested), even if they were supposedly 16 or 17 years old. It's not just a Chinese thing to try to 'get the edge' in balletic sports by sending rail-thin competitors. [In pre-internet days, reporters could only go on photos and hearsay. ABC did at least one TV 'fluff' piece on the question of age among eastern-blok gymnasts, I remember.]
On the 'current' vs 'past eras' matter - The early allegations in the current matter point not only to Sui/Han but to the results of some past championships, most notably the wins by Zhang/Zhang at Jr Worlds in the early '00s. If the under-/over-aged skaters are stripped of their medals then, for example, Yuko Kawaguchi and her old partner (skating for Japan) would become Jr World Champs of 2001. [The irony is that the two pair teams who would now win Junior Worlds titles, as a result of the findings, are both Japanese (Kawaguchi/Markuntsev and Takahashi/Tran). Pure coincidence...instant "Pair Power" for Japan!]
Last edited by Frau Muller; 02-17-2011 at 05:12 PM.
Dick Button Historical Quote of the Month: "Good for you, Lucinda Ruh!"