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He Kexin
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He at the 2008 Olympic Games

Country represented

Flag of China China

Born

January 1 1992 (1992-01-01) (age 25)
Beijing, China

Years on National Team

2007-2013

Coach(es)

Liu Guicheng, He Hua

Current status

Retired

He Kexin (Chinese: 何可欣; pinyin: Hé Kěxīn [xɤ̌ kʰɤ̀ɕín]; born January 1, 1992 in Beijing) is a retired Chinese gymnast. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing she won 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 the event, along with Yang Yilin, Nastia Liukin and Beth Tweddle. She then went on to win the World title on uneven bars in 2009, and an Olympic silver medal on bars in 2012. 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, but an official investigation found in her favor.

Gymnastics Career

He Kexin trained at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing. She participated in China's National Games in 2006 and Intercity Games in 2007. 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.

2008

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, besting Nastia Liukin's mark of 16.65 at the 2008 Pacific Rim Championships. On May 15, 2008 He participated in the Tianjin World Cup, breaking two world records.

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He with her uneven bars gold medal

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).

2009

Although He was an event specialist on the uneven bars, she intended to diversify into an all-arounder following the Olympic season. 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. It is important to note that the 2009–2012 Code of Points counts the top 8 elements (instead of the top 10 elements as were previously counted) in the routine towards the D-Score. Thus, D-Scores around the world had dropped since 2008.
He Kexin

2010-11

During the team finals in the 2010 World Gymnastics Championships, He Kexin contributed the highest score of the night to her team total. But a fall in the event finals, 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 finals. Although she did not compete in any event in the team final, He remained on the China team which eventually won the Bronze medal.

2012

In May, He competed at the Chinese Nationals, where she took gold on uneven bars.

On June 19, 2012, China named her to the preliminary team for the Olympics. She was one of three gymnasts competing for the final spot on the team, along with Jiang Yuyuan and Tan Sixin. On July 10th, she was awarded the final spot.

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He at the 2012 Olympic Games

During qualifications, He only competed on vault and uneven bars. She qualified to the uneven bars final.

During the team final, He only competed on uneven bars, where she posted the second highest score of the night on that event (15.766). However, the Chinese finished fourth in the team final.

In the uneven bars final, He performed first. She scored a 15.933 and took the silver behind Russia's Aliya Mustafina and ahead of Great Britain's Beth Tweddle.

2013

He continued to compete after the Olympics, winning silver on uneven bars at the Chinese Nationals in May.

He went on to compete in her last competition, the Chinese National Games in September. She helped her team, Beijing, place eighth in the team final and qualified to the uneven bars final in third place. She intended her final performance on uneven bars to be her swan song, but fell on one of her pirouettes and finished fifth. Afterwards, she waved to the crowd and tearfully kissed the uneven bars as a way to say good-bye. She retired soon after.

Age Controversy

During and after the 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, 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 that were later taken off-line. 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 in the 2008 Summer Olympics. 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 and attributing the discrepancies in the reporting He's age to faulty paperwork when He was transferred from Beijing to Hubei. He herself, speaking to reporters after the Olympic team final, said, "my real age is 16. I don't care what other people say". 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". 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.

However, the matter continued to be a source of controversy among members of the gymnastics community and the media. 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 birth date through cached pages on the search engine Baidu. On August 21, the IOC announced that they had asked the FIG to open an investigation into He and her teammates' ages. 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. 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. 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.

On October 1, 2008, the FIG concluded their investigation, finding that He and her Olympic teammates were old enough to compete. However, some international media outlets continued to voice doubts that He and her teammates were old enough to compete.

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Featured Gymnast for October 2012

Medal Count

Year Event TF AA VT UB BB FX
2007Intercity Games1st
2008Doha World Cup1st
Cottbus World Cup1st
Beijing Olympic Games1st1st
2009London World Championships1st
2010Paris World Cup1st
Rotterdam World Championships3rd7
2011Tokyo World Championships3rd
2012Chinese National Championships1st
London Olympic Games42nd
2013Chinese National Championships2nd
Liaoning Chinese National Games85

Floor Music

2008 - "Travel to India/The Awakening" from The Myth soundtrack

2010 - "Aankhein Khuli Hoo" by Shahrukh Khan

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