On August 10, former U.S. Gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi and his wife Martha vented their indignation in the press about China’s use of gymnasts who appeared to be too young to compete according to International Gymnastics Federation regulations.
"We are in the business of gymnastics and we know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. You don't have to be a gymnastics coach to know what they look like at 16," Karoli said in an Associated Press report.
The drama continued on Wednesday as the Americans went up against China for the gold in the women’s team final.
Martha Karolyi, coordinator for Team USA, accused officials at Beijing’s National Indoor Stadium of disrupting team captain Alicia Sacramone’s balancing beam routine by making her wait for an extended period of time
"First they called her name up, then they did not even put her name up even though the Chinese had finished ... (it was) totally unusual holding," Ms. Karolyi told Agence France Presse.
"She was mentally prepared and then she had a mental break, then after not doing the job … her concentration was bothered."
Although USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny later said that the disruption occurred due to scheduling issues related to the Games’ television feed, doubt remains as to the intentions of venue organizers in their well-timed choice to delay Sacramone.
On Wednesday, Indian shooting coach Sunny Thomas confirmed that in the final of the men’s 10m Air Rifle Final on Sunday, India’s Abhinav Bindra had his rifle mysteriously tampered with just before going up against China’s Zhu Qinan.
“Before the final, the finalists and their coaches were there but nobody was allowed to touch the gun, so I can’t say who might be responsible,” Thomas told Zee News Monday.
Fortunately for Bindra, each competitor is granted five minutes before the event begins to test their rifles and shoot as many rounds as they want. Bindra was able to fix his rifle during that period and beat Zhu for the gold.
Some questionable officiating has also occurred. Veteran Australian shooter Russell Mark alleged on Monday that Chinese judges helped Chinese Hu Binyuan win the bronze in the Double Trap shooting event by awarding him a hit even though Hu had clearly missed the target.
"One of them clearly he missed," Mark said in an SFP report. “I don't think anyone out there thought he hit it. If that had been for a gold medal, I would have been protesting.”
And that’s not all. British boxer and world number 3 Joe Murray and his camp also were on the receiving end of dubious judging in the Bantamweight Bronze Medal match against China’s Gu Yu.
"I thought they were very generous to the Chinaman," said coach Terry Edwards to British media outlet The Independent.
"Everything he touched they pressed the button for. Scores make a big difference in tactics and Joe's tactics had to be changed. For every point you are losing frustration creeps in and you are chasing the bout more than you want to. I'm not saying he won but the judges made him do things that weren't in the game plan.”
Aug 14, 2008