What Is He Kexin Doing Now? Rio Missed Out On This Former Olympic Gymnast As She Tries Something New
A scandal emerged during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics when China's women's gymnastics team looked a bit younger than the minimum age of 16. In fact, Olympic gold medalist He Kexin had many viewers speculating she was maybe only 14 years old when competing in the 2008 games, even though her passport listed her as 16. But what is Kexin doing now? The controversy was eight years ago, and she's focusing on new skills.
The retired gymnast was set to complete her Bachelor's degree this past year at Beijing Normal University. The former Olympian was also planning on completing a master's program afterward, in hopes of becoming a sports teacher, according to World of Gymnastika. The outlet also noted that Kexin is involved in promoting the 2020 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing, and plans to learn ice skating and skiing "to be more involved" in the Games. She has maintained a relatively low profile since retiring in 2013.
During the Beijing Olympics, Kexin wooed viewers when she won the gold medal in both the individual and team competitions. But many people were not convinced that she was of age to compete. Her age was the subject of an investigation after Mike Walker, a U.S. computer expert, claimed to have found documents which proved that Kexin was underage and thus ineligible to compete, according to The Telegraph. Walker reached out to the International Olympic Committee about the alleged documents, which prompted an investigation.
Back in 2008, Mary Lou Retton, former U.S. Olympic gold medalist and the winner of the 1984 Olympic all-around competition, told The New York Times, "The girls are so little, so young," when speaking about China's gymnastics team. She added, "They said she was 16, but I don’t know." This year, after China's women's team won bronze in the team all-around event, some wondered yet again whether the women representing the team were old enough to compete, reminding us all of that 2008 scandal.
According to the Los Angeles Times, at the time, Bela Karolyi, an expert in female gymnastics, said of the Chinese gymnastics team: "These people think we are stupid. We are in the business of gymnastics. We know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. What kind of slap in the face is this?"
Either way, the investigation into China's 2008 women's gymnastics team didn't find much evidence to prove that any of the team's members were underage. Kexin won gold in 2008 in Beijing in the team all-around and on the uneven bars and won a silver medal during the uneven bars competition at London's 2012 Olympics. Since then, she's kept a low profile, and hasn't gone public about what she's up to now — which isn't surprising after the taxing controversy that started in 2008.