Article from IG.
Initially, we thought it must be an early April Fool. For those who don’t know, the Chinese competed underage athletes in both the 1999 worlds and 2000 Olympics (and most of the other competitions in at least the past decade, frankly). Dong Fangxiao, who was at both, not only admitted this, but also was an official in Beijing with a different DOB to the one she’d used in Sydney. The FIG routinely ignore age faking admissions, but even they take action when athletes use multiple birthdates. Hence the Chinese were forced to hand back the bronze they’d ‘won’ in 2000, which was back in 2010. It passed to the much maligned US team. However, nothing had happened with regards to the 1999 bronze. Until now.
The Chinese federation were utterly craven and pathetic about the Sydney hand-back, and as far as we know, the FIG haven’t obliged them to do this. So it seemed unlikely that they’d have the decency to volunteer.
But then the IG story stayed up, and 1st April had been and gone. So we wondered. Yesterday, our good friend Kyan from TAAF not only confirmed it, but was kind enough to supply a photo too!
Left to right: Natalia Horodny, Zinaida Gorbach (coach of Inga Shkraupa), Olga Teslenko, Irina Krasnyanska, Ms. Kutsenko (forgot her first name; coach of Tatiana Yarosh), Lyudmyla Korolenko (coach of Galina Tyryk). Sadly, Karpenko doesn’t seem to have made it.
Big congratulations to our genuine World bronze medalists from 1999. Plenty of people thought they deserved it at the time, cheating Chinese or not. Just as they deserve the bars bronzes from the 2000 and 2008 Olympics. Maybe one day. Probably too late to stop the tragic decline in the programme, though. It isn’t just medals that age faking cheats people out of, it’s funding too.
Nice to see Teslenko still rockin’ them Aquanet bangs more than a decade later. Even if the hairstyle goes out of style, good (and cheap – possibly recalled) hairspray never does.