Not for all the bronze in China

AP is reporting that the International Olympic Committee has stripped the Chinese of a bronze medal win they earned in women’s gymnastics back at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The problem? One of the women competing wasn’t exactly a woman: competitor Dong Fangxiao was fourteen at the time. This may be old enough to suffer from sleep deprivation while working 15 hour days at a Microsoft plant for 52¢ an hour, but the IOC has a strict rule: you must be 16 to compete.

The Chinese government maintained there was insufficient evidence, but respects the decision and plans to return the medal. “We are pained over this incident,” a statement said, further adding “. . . We will learn a lesson and further strengthen all kinds of administrative work on athletes and resolutely prevent a similar incident from happening again.”

The bronze medal now falls into the hands of Dominique Dawes, of the United States team. “Justice prevails,” she said. I tried to contact General Mills to see if they were planning to retroactively put her on the Wheaties . . . well, maybe not on the box, per se. I don’t know what a bronze medal gets you these days. Perhaps a spot next to the Nutrition Facts? Sharing a box with Franken-berry?

Anyway, I’ll never know. The receptionist at General Mills called me a degenerate and hung up. Allegedly.

In the event that Ms. Dawes is found to have cheated, the bronze medal will be melted down and used to augment Elliot Mintz's fake tan.

Chinese state-run media briefly mentioned the news of the lost medal before chucking it into the memory hole. No word on whether they will follow in their erstwhile brethren’s footsteps by inventing their own replacement medal.

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