X-rays could solve controversy over Olympic gymnasts' ages

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon
X-ray could assist the International Olympic Committee in determining age of athletes. Source: The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre  

The recent controversy surrounding the ages of female Chinese gymnasts at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing could be dispelled by simply using x-rays to determine age, according to doctors and forensic experts.

The science of determining age measures the growth of bones and teeth as a child grows creating detailed tables recording the precise size and shape of skeletal components broken down by age, sex and race, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Peter Hampl, MD, president of the American Board of Forensic Odontology, said that the task is so straightforward, that “the Chinese government should just consent to x-rays and let the films speak for themselves.”

The ages of He Kexin, Yang Yilin and Jiang Yuyuan have been called into question after online registration records listing birth dates that would make all three girls 14 years old were discovered. Olympic rules require that a gymnast be at least 16 during the year that the Games are held. The government attempted to put the issue to rest by producing passports that declared the girls met the age requirement, the LA Times reported.