The Olympic Games may be hit by an age scandal due to a discovery by a hacker.
A part time hacker named Stryde Hax has revealed documents that show China's dual-gold medal winning gymnast He Kexin is only 14, under the Olympic age threshold of 16. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the hacker discovered the athlete's via cached official Excel spreadsheets which show He Kexin as being born on January 1st, 1994.
Stryde Hax claims to work for the US-based Intrepidus Group, a provider of information security consulting services. He wrote: “Much of the coverage regarding Kexin's age has only mentioned ‘allegation' of fraud, and the IOC has ignored the matter completely. I believe that these primary documents, issued by the Chinese state, directly available from China by clicking on the links above rise to a level of evidence higher than ‘allegations.' How official are these documents? Pretty dang official - they were issued by the General Administration of Sport of China.”
Another hacker, calling themselves Karate3409, also reportedly found evidence of the athlete's age with a cached web page found from the city of Chengdu Sports Bureau's website listing, though the original is no longer visible and returns a ‘Template Error' message. Other discoveries support earlier records though original links and some of the cached results have since been removed.
When asked about the age controversy earlier this month, IOC President Jacques Rogge said it was not his organisation's job to check the age of athletes. He said: “The IOC relies on the international federations, who are exclusively responsible for the eligibility of athletes.”
The 4'8” tall gymnast was part of the women's gymnastic team which won gold and then took an individual gold medal in the uneven bars at the Beijing Olympics. Rules on ages were put into place to avoid exploiting younger gymnasts.