INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., April 28, 2010 – Earlier today, the International Olympic Committee stripped China of its 2000 Olympic Games women’s team bronze medal because one of its athletes did not meet the age requirement. The IOC said it will award the team bronze medal to the United States, which originally finished fourth in the team competition. The decision, made during the IOC’s Executive Board meetings in Dubai, UAE, was based on the recommendation of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
“USA Gymnastics is grateful that the FIG and IOC took the time to thoroughly review and address this issue that was first raised at the Beijing Olympics,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Every athlete dreams about winning an Olympic medal. In 2000, our athletes and coaches worked tirelessly leading up to the Olympics and this recognition will certainly have great meaning."
After conducting an internal investigation, the FIG nullified the results of Chinese gymnast Dong Fangxiao at the 2000 Olympic Games in February 2010. It was determined that Dong was 14 years of age in 2000, which violated the rule that gymnasts must be at least 16 years old to compete in the Olympic Games. The FIG recommended that the IOC strip China of the team bronze medal.
The members of the 2000 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team are: Amy Chow, Jamie Dantzscher, Dominique Dawes, Kristen Maloney, Elise Ray and Tasha Schwikert, along with Morgan White, who was named to the team but was injured prior to the Games. Alyssa Beckerman was the alternate. Bela Karolyi was the national team coordinator, with Kelli Hill as head coach and Steve Rybacki as assistant coach.
Dominique Dawes, 1996 Olympic team gold medalist/2-time Olympic bronze medalist
“Thanks to the due diligence of the IOC and FIG, the truth has been revealed. I could have never imagined receiving another medal after 10 years. Maybe this will inspire me to come back for a fourth Olympics. Oh wait, is there a maximum age?”
Amy Chow, 1996 Olympic team gold medalist and uneven bars silver medalist
“It’s very unexpected, 10 years later, to learn that we were awarded the bronze medal, but very exciting as well. One of my friends emailed me yesterday and told me congrats and I was like, ‘for what?’ Then I got on the internet and read about it.”
“I am extremely excited to share this honor with my team based on our success in Sydney and not based on a technicality. Our team effort and performance at the 2000 Games were exceptional yet underappreciated. I will proudly accept this medal knowing that it was our team’s hard work and performance in 2000 that truly led us to this moment.”
Kristen Maloney, 1998 Goodwill Games gold medalist
“I’m very excited. I’m just trying to take it all in. It’s just kind of strange because it was so long ago. I never dreamed in 2000 that we would later be awarded the team bronze medal.”
Tasha Schwikert, 2003 world team gold medalist
“That’s wonderful. I don’t know what to say. It’s been many years but that is so cool.”
"I am a still a little in shock and digesting the news. A lo t of people don’t know how hard it was, our whole Olympic experience. We have been looked at as a disappointment since 2000 so this is a chance for everyone to remember that we were in fact a great team."
Kelli Hill, head coach
“It’s awesome for the girls. Those kids worked so hard and did their job, so earning the bronze medal is fantastic. I’m thrilled for each of them. Although it is late in coming, it is definitely well-deserved.”
Stephen Rybacki, assistant coach
“I’m excited for the athletes. It’s great that they finally get recognition for their wonderful efforts. As far as the FIG and IOC, I’m glad they are correcting a mistake that was made many years ago.”
Bela Karolyi, national team coordinator for the women’s 2000 U.S. Olympic Team
“I’m very glad that this result came out. There was obstruction of the legal age of the Chinese athlete and I’m glad it was finally discovered. . . . I’m so glad for the great effort of the team in 2000.”