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He Kexin (born January 1, 1992) is a Chinese former artistic gymnast who competed at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, she won gold medals on the uneven bars and as a member of the Chinese team. She was one of only a few gymnasts to score over 17.00 under the 2005–2008 Code of Points, and her 7.7 difficulty score on bars in 2008 was one of the highest in the world.[2][3]

He Kexin
He Kexin.jpg
Kexin on August 30, 2008
Personal information
Full nameHe Kexin (何可欣)
Country represented China
Born (1992-01-01) January 1, 1992 (age 27)[1]
(see Age controversy below)
Beijing, China
Height152 cm (5 ft 0 in)
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
Years on national team2007, 2008, 2009
ClubBeijing Gymnastics Team
Head coach(es)Liu Guicheng, He Hua
MusicBolero by Maurice Ravel (2010–11)
He Kexin

As with several of her teammates, questions were raised in the international press when earlier reports surfaced indicating she may not have been old enough to compete in the 2008 Olympics; however, an official investigation found in her favor.[3] She continued her success in post-Beijing Olympics period, she holds the record for the highest obtained difficulty in the entire London period. In the team final at the 2010 World Championships, she scored 16.133 with 7.4 difficulty, one of the highest score achieved in women's gymnastics between 2009 and 2012.


Gymnastics careerEdit

He Kexin began training at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing in 1997.[4] She participated in China's National Games in 2006[5] and Intercity Games in 2007.[6] According to China Daily, Kexin was recruited for the Chinese National Team in 2007, after her uneven bars win at the Intercity Games drew the attention of head coach Huang Yubin.[7]

She made her international debut in 2008, participating in several events on the World Cup circuit. At her first meet, the World Cup in Doha, she scored 16.550 on the uneven bars; at her second, the Cottbus Cup, she scored 16.800. The mark was the highest uneven bars score posted at an international event under the current Code of Points,[8] besting Nastia Liukin's mark of 16.65 at the 2008 Pacific Rim Championships.[9] On May 15, 2008, He participated in the Tianjin World Cup, breaking two world records.[7][10]

At the 2008 Olympics, He was a member of the gold medal-winning Chinese team. In the uneven bars final, she and Liukin both posted final marks of 16.725, and earned identical A- and B-panel scores of 7.70 and 9.025, respectively. Because He's individual B-panel marks had a lower variance, she won the gold medal as per the Olympic tiebreaker rules of the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG).[11][12][12][13]

At the 2009 World Championships in London, she defended her bars title and won a gold medal with a score of 16.000, with a 7.1 D-score.

During the team finals in the 2010 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, He contributed the highest score of the night to her team total, 16.133 with 7.4 difficulty, it was the highest difficulty for the entire London Olympic period in all four piece of apparatus and the 16.133 scores on bars was also the highest ever achieved at the same time. But a fall in the event final left her out of the medals. In the qualifications of the 2011 World Championships, she fell and did not make the event final. Although she did not compete in any event in the team final, she remained on the Chinese team, which won the bronze medal.

He was named to the 2012 Olympic team over 2008 teammate Jiang Yuyuan and 2011 World team member Tan Sixin, because her speciality was regarded as a better complement to the fourth team member, Deng Linlin.[14] At the Olympics, she qualified in second place to the uneven bars event final. She finished in second, behind gold medalist Aliya Mustafina of Russia, with a score of 15.933, making her the only Chinese female gymnast to medal in the same event at two consecutive Olympics.

He Kexin (right) with her silver medal from the 2012 Olympic uneven bars final

She is one of only five Chinese female gymnasts to make two Olympic teams, along with Liu Xuan, Kui Yuanyuan, 2008 team captain Cheng Fei, and Deng Linlin.

Age controversyEdit

During and after the 2008 Summer Olympics, He Kexin's actual age became the subject of controversy; her passport and the Chinese Olympic Committee list her date of birth as January 1, 1992,[15][16][17][18] which would make her 16 years, 220 days old during the 2008 Olympic opening ceremonies and therefore old enough to compete. However, before the 2008 Olympics, He's age was reported by the Chinese press, including the state news service, Xinhua, as 13 in 2007 and 14 in 2008 in news articles[3][7][16][19] that were later taken off-line.[20][21] Her birth date has also been given on several registration lists of the General Administration of Sport in China, the Chengdu Sports Bureau and other registration sources as January 1, 1994, which would have made her 14 years, 220 days old during the opening ceremonies, and therefore too young to participate.[3][16][20][21] Chinese officials maintained that He was in fact old enough to compete, stating that Xinhua had not confirmed He's age before filing their news reports[19] and attributing the discrepancies to faulty paperwork when He was transferred from Beijing to Hubei.[22] She herself, speaking to reporters after the 2008 Olympic team final, said, "My real age is 16. I don't care what other people say."[23][24] In another interview, she said, "I don't get upset because I have answered this question many times. There's no need to explain anymore."[25] On August 2, the International Olympic Committee stated that it would not investigate the discrepancy in He's reported age because the FIG's own verification system was sufficient proof of eligibility. The FIG, in responding to the situation, said that it would not ask for additional proof of age beyond the passport already supplied by Chinese officials.[26][27]

However, the matter continued to be a source of controversy among members of the gymnastics community and the media.[20] The Times reported that a computer expert "Stryde" had recovered one of the deleted registration lists showing He's birth date as January 1, 1994, through cached pages on the search engine Baidu.[28] On August 21, the IOC announced that it had asked the FIG to open an investigation into He and her teammates' ages.[29] On August 22, 2008, the IOC said it had not uncovered any evidence of wrongdoing "so far" and expressed confidence that the Chinese Federation's documents were correct.[30] However, the FIG held an emergency meeting about the situation on August 23 and requested additional documentation for every gymnast on the Chinese team, with the exception of Cheng Fei.[31][32] On August 24, a Chinese official addressed the registration lists found online, stating that the discrepancy was due to an administrative error that took place when He was transferred between teams while participating in the InterCity Games in 2007.[33]

On October 1, 2008, the FIG concluded its investigation, finding that He and her Olympic teammates were old enough to compete,[34] although some international media outlets remained skeptical.[35][36][37]

Competitive historyEdit

He Kexin with her gold medal on uneven bars from the 2009 World Championships
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
2012 Olympic Games London Team 4 174.43 3 176.637
Uneven Bars 2 15.933 2 15.966
2011 World Championships Tokyo Team 3 172.82 3 230.370
Uneven Bars 80 12.733
2010 Asian Games Guangzhou Team 1 234.150
Uneven Bars 1 16.425 1 16.100
World Championships Rotterdam Team 3 174.781 2 233.778
Uneven Bars 7 13.966 1 16.066
2009 World Championships London Uneven Bars 1 16.000 1 15.975
2008 World Cup/Series Cottbus Uneven Bars 1 16.850 1 16.800
Doha Uneven Bars 1 16.550 1 16.450
Olympic Games Beijing Team 1 188.900 1 248.275
Uneven bars 1 16.725 6 15.725
World Cup/Final Madrid Uneven Bars 1 16.250

Floor MusicEdit

  • 2008 "Travel to India" (Track14) and "The Awakening" (track 16) from Jackie Chan's Movie "The Myth" soundtrack
  • 2010 Aankhein Khuli by Jatin Lalit


  1. ^
  2. ^ Wang, Lisa (2008-05-12). "Chinese Championships End". International Gymnast. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  3. ^ a b c d "Are Chinese gymnasts too young for Olympics?". USA Today/Associated Press. 2008-07-27. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  4. ^ Charles Whelan; Martin Parry (2008-08-25). "Success also signals change". Vancouver News. Agence France Presse. Archived from the original on 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
  5. ^ "运动员交流交流协议名单 Exchange list of athletes, Gymnastics". Sports Secretary, State Sports General Administration. 2006-02-14. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  6. ^ "He Kexin UB 2007 Intercity Games". Gymnast Tube. 2008-02-17.
  7. ^ a b c "Uneven-bars queen the new star in town". China Daily. May 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  8. ^ Turner, Amanda (2008-04-25). "He Kexin hits new high score". International Gymnast. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  9. ^ "Hamm cruises, Liukin raises bar at Pacific Rim". USA Today. March 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  10. ^ Turner, Amanda (2008-05-14). "World Cup Begins in Tiajin". International Gymnast. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  11. ^ "Technical regulations" (PDF). Federation Internationale de Gymnastique. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-04. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
  12. ^ a b "China win as Tweddle misses out". BBC Sport. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  13. ^ Hairopoulos, Kate (2008-08-18). "Liukin takes silver in uneven bars despite even score". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  14. ^
  15. ^ He Kexin at the International Federation of Gymnastics
  16. ^ a b c Macur, Juliet (2008-07-27). "Records Suggest Chinese Gymnasts May Be Under Age". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  17. ^ "Chinese Gymnasts Declared Old Enough". ITN. 2008-10-02. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  18. ^ "Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Chinese Sports Delegation Roster: He Kexin". Chinese Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  19. ^ a b "Age of Chinese gymnasts stirs more talk". Associated Press. August 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
  20. ^ a b c Harris, Nick (2008-08-19). "Tweddle the loser as age doubts mar He's triumph". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  21. ^ a b Xiao, Qiang (August 14, 2008). "One More Olympic Secret: How Old is He Kexin (何可欣), Really?". China Digital Times. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  22. ^ Armour, Nancy (2008-08-24). "Official: Faulty Paperwork Caused Age Confusion". AOL.
  23. ^ Scott-Elliott, Robin (2008-08-22). "IOC launch inquiry into 'underage' gymnasts". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  24. ^ "China's golden gymnasts say they're not underage". Times of India. 2008-08-14. Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
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  26. ^ Armour, Nancy (2008-08-02). "More questions about Chinese gymnasts' ages". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  27. ^ Pucin, Diane (2008-08-10). "More age monitoring for women's gymnastics". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-08-16.
  28. ^ McCartney, Jane (2008-08-21). "Hacker uncovers 'proof' that Chinese gymnast is underage". The Times. Archived from the original on 17 March 2009. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  29. ^ Chase, Chris (2008-08-21). "IOC orders investigation into He Kexin's age". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  30. ^ Wing-Gar Cheng, Li Yanping (August 22, 2008). "IOC Says China Gymnasts Age Probe Indicates `No Problem So Far'". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  31. ^ Sally Jenkins (August 22, 2008). "As Gymnastics Cheating Evidence Grows, IOC Shrinks". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  32. ^ "ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REQUESTED". International Gymnastics Federation official announcement. August 22, 2008. Archived from the original on August 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  33. ^ Hutcheon, Stephen (August 25, 2008). "China says paperwork error led to cheat claim". Canberra Times. Archived from the original on August 25, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
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  35. ^ Brennan, Christine (October 1, 2008). "Maybe now China will quit cheating". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  36. ^ Gillon, Doug (2 October 2008). "China cleared of age concerns but questions left over Sydney squad". The Herald. Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  37. ^ [dead link]Dahlberg, Tim (27 September 2008). "Wasting time looking for underage gymnasts". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 21 December 2008.

External linksEdit