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I started high school at the tail end of my twelfth year, which wasn’t so strange for me considering I
was a fookin’ genius from birth started school early and was always two years young for my grade. By age thirteen, I had clocked in a season of high school cheerleading, seven broken heart episodes, and enough time as VP of my class to think that I ran the whole goddamn place. I swooped ahead to take AP Biology and chemistry at the same time, and started tutoring kids older than me in regular biology, or what I had started referring to as “elementary-level science for the masses.” I ruled. At thirteen years of age, I totally fucking ruled. Thirteen? I felt twenty-three.
Still, it wasn’t enough to just rule. The varsity football team found out how young I was on my first day in the halls, after which, none of them would touch me with a grabby-hand or a ten foot pole (unless, I suppose, they wanted to spend their senior year in jail). There was no faking my age, not with a seat in AP Bio, not with a fake ID, not with a stuffed bra, not with a very well-crafted lie. And thus, for me, there would be no feel-ups by BMOCs, no freshman year glory screws, just me, my AP Bio book, and my ego to keep me company.
It’s no wonder that I have paid special attention the controversy surrounding the champion Chinese gymnasts, many of whom have been scrutinized by every media outlet in the world (besides the Chinese) for lying about their ages.
Sure, sure, it’s important that, if the girls in question really are thirteen or fourteen rather than sixteen (as their legal passports state), there’s a whole institutionalized cheating thing being perpetuated by Chinese authorities and we’ve got a real fucking problem on our hands.
But let’s not bury the headline. There is, essentially written proof that at least one Chinese gymnast, He Kexin, was reported last year by Chinese press as aged thirteen, and now that story is being repudiated as inaccurate. Written proof! And all this chick has to tell reporters is, “My real age is sixteen. I don’t pay any attention to what everyone says,” and everyone nods their heads and the FIG and IOC give their collective thumbs-up, and the team goes on to win its gold medal, blah blah blah. If all of this drama is actually true, it surely boils down to this: Kexin and Co. have got some damn good people working with ‘em.
SO WHERE WERE THESE PEOPLE WHEN I WAS TRYING TO GET LAID IN HIGH SCHOOL?
Filed under: China Gymnastics Age Controversy, China Gymnastics Scandal, Chinese Gymnasts, Getting Laid, Goddammit, Lying About Your Age, Scandals, the Olympics, This is Bullshit, We Start Ruling at Birth
Thanks in large part to our Hardass Parents, Asians looove a headstart. I was potty-trained and walking at 11 months and talking in complete sentences by age 2 (I also, apparently, had a serious boyfriend in preschool); I learned to add and subtract at 3 and picked up geometry and algebra around 8 or 9. I thought I was pretty hot shit in the child development-department until I met Diana, who learned to read at 2, started kindergarten at 3, graduated high school at 16, and had a real job by age 20. (Bitch!)
I was reminded of the value Asians place on precociousness when I read today that two female Chinese gymnasts may be too young to compete in the Olympics (the minimum age is 16). Chinese officials were quick to say that the gymnasts, He Kexin and Jiang Yuyuan, are both 16, despite online records that list their age as 14. Even more curious is the fact that China’s government-run newspaper, the China Daily, ran a story in May heralding the arrival of “14-year-old newcomer” He Kexin, a gold medal favorite in the uneven bars.
But it was only after reading He’s Wikipedia page, which says that the eensy-beensy gymnast:
- Has already won two World Cup titles on the uneven bars this year
- Is “one of the few gymnasts in the world to score over 17.00 under the current Code of Points”
- Has one of the highest difficulty scores in the world in the uneven bars
…that I started to wonder. Given that most gymnasts are considered “old” at 18 and younger girls tend to compete better and do the most outrageous tricks because they have no sense of failure or mortality (Nadia Comaneci was 14 when she scored the first perfect 10 at the ’76 Games), I gotta think that THOSE GIRLS ARE SO TOTALLY NOT 16. At some point, the ambivalence creeps in, you don’t think you’re such hot shit anymore, and, of course, you want to get laid. Maybe that explains why I was better at geometry at 8 than I was at 14?