He Kexin

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He Kexin
— Gymnast —
He Kexin.jpg
Personal information
Full name He Kexin (何可欣)
Country represented  China
Born (1992-01-01) January 1, 1992 (age 27)
(see Age controversy below)
Beijing, China
Height 152 cm (5 ft 0 in)
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior
Years on national team 2007, 2008, 2009
Club Beijing Gymnastics Team
Head coach(es) Liu Guicheng, He Hua
Music Bolero by Maurice Ravel (2010–11)
Retired 2013
He Kexin
Chinese 何可欣

He Kexin (born January 1, 1992)[1] is a Chinese former artistic gymnast. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing she won two gold medals on the uneven bars (her specialty) and as a member of the Chinese Artistic Gymnastics team. In 2008, she won two World Cup titles on the uneven bars. On the bars she was one of the few gymnasts in the world to score over 17.00 under the 2005–2008 Code of Points. With an A-score of 7.7 in 2008, she had one of the highest difficulty scores in the world in this event, along with Yang Yilin, Nastia Liukin and all with 0.1 difficulty less than Beth Tweddle.[2][3] 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 2010 World Champion's women team final all-around, she scored 16.133 with 7.4 difficulty which is the highest score ever achieved in the London Olympics period (between 2009 and 2012).

Gymnastics career

He Kexin trained at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing since 1997.[4] She participated in China's National Games in 2006[5] and Intercity Games in 2007.[6] According to China Daily, He 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]

He 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 American Nastia 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]

In the 2009 World Championships held 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 Kexin 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 way out of the medals and unable to defend her world title. In the qualifications of the 2011 World Gymnastics, He Kexin fell once and had a major dead hang and didn't make the event final. Although she did not compete in any event in the team final, He remained on the China team which eventually 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 better complement to the 4th team member, Deng Linlin.[14] At the Olympics, she qualified in second place to the uneven bars event final. She finished the final in second, behind gold medalist Aliya Mustafina of Russia, with a score of 15.933, which makes her the only Chinese female gymnast who had medalled in the same event at two consecutive Olympics.

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

Furthermore, she is the one of only five Chinese female gymnasts who had ever made for two Olympics, together with her seniors Liu Xuan, Kui Yuanyuan, her 2008 team capitan Cheng Fei and her long term teammate Deng Linlin.

Age controversy

During and after the 2008 Summer Olympics, He's actual age became the subject of controversy; her passport and the Chinese Olympic Committee list her date of birth as January 1, 1992,[1][15][16][17] 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][15][18] that were later taken off-line.[19][20] 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 "1994-1-1" (January 1, 1994), which would have made her 14 years, 220 days old during the Opening ceremonies, and therefore too young to participate.[3][15][19][20] 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[18] and attributing the discrepancies in the reporting He's age to faulty paperwork when He was transferred from Beijing to Hubei.[21] He herself, speaking to reporters after the 2008 Olympic team final, said, "my real age is 16. I don't care what other people say".[22][23] In another interview He Kexin stated "I don't get upset because I have answered this question many times, there's no need to explain anymore".[24] On August 2, the International Olympic Committee stated that they 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, stated that they would not ask for additional proof of age beyond the passport already supplied by Chinese officials.[25][26]

However, the matter continued to be a source of controversy among members of the gymnastics community and the media.[19] The Times reported that a computer expert "Stryde" had recovered one of the now deleted registration lists showing He's birth date as January 1, 1994 through cached pages on the search engine Baidu.[27] On August 21, the IOC announced that they had asked the FIG to open an investigation into He and her teammates' ages.[28] On Friday August 22, 2008, the IOC said they had not uncovered any evidence of wrongdoing "so far" and expressed confidence that the Chinese Federation's documents were correct.[29] 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 sole exception of team captain Cheng Fei.[30][31] On August 24, a Chinese official addressed the registration lists found online, stating that the discrepancy was due to an administrative error which took place when He was transferred between teams while participating in the InterCity Games in 2007.[32]

On October 1, 2008, the FIG concluded their investigation, finding that He and her Olympic teammates were old enough to compete,[33] although some international media outlets remained skeptical.[34][35][36]

Competitive history

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 Music

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


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External links