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US gymnasts get Sydney Olympics bronze in IOC order

Apr 29, 2010 8:07:00 AM - thestate.com
Ten years after its gymnastics team won an Olympic bronze medal in Sydney, China was ordered to give it back for using an underage girl, allowing the United States to claim it instead.

Acting on evidence that Dong Fangxiao was only 14 at the 2000 Games, the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday stripped the country of the women's team bronze.

Gymnasts must turn 16 during the Olympic year to be eligible.

"Justice prevailed," said Dominique Dawes, who will now have a medal from each of her three Olympics and four overall. "My teammates are very well-deserving of the bronze medal, and I'm sure each and every one of us will be thrilled. We will cherish it."

Age falsification has been a problem in gymnastics since the 1980s, when the minimum age was raised from 14 to 15 to help protect still-developing athletes from serious injuries. The International Gymnastics Federation raised the minimum age to its current 16 in 1997.

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