Dong Fangxiao

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Dong Fangxiao
Full nameDong Fangxiao
Country represented China
Born (1983-01-20) 20 January 1983 (age 36)[1] or (1986-01-23) 23 January 1986 (age 33)[1][2]
Hebei, China
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
Head coach(es)Lu Shanzhen
MusicZorba the Greek (1999/2000)

Dong Fangxiao (Chinese: 董芳霄; Dǒng Fāngxiāo) is a retired Chinese international gymnast who competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics.[3] She claimed a bronze medal with the Chinese team at the Olympics, as well as the 1999 World Championships in Tianjin China, but both the medals were stripped from her and her teammates when it was discovered she had competed underage.[4]

Gymnastics career[edit]

Dong Fangxiao began gymnastics at an early age. She was a member of her provincial team by the age of seven and was invited to join the Chinese National Team at the age of ten.[5] In 1999, though by FIG rules she was too young as a thirteen year old, she began illegally competing as a senior gymnast internationally.[4] At the 1999 World Championships in Tianjin China, Dong helped the Chinese team illegally claim a bronze medal.[5] Individually she placed 6th in the all-around, 4th in the floor exercise final and 7th in the balance beam event final.[2] Dong was again illegally named to the senior Chinese team for the 2000 Olympics, still too young to compete now at the age of fourteen. Her strong performances again helped the Chinese squad steal a bronze medal in the team competition. Dong qualified for the all-around, floor, and vault event finals, but placed out of the medals on all three events; 25th, 6th, and 7th respectively.[2]

After the Olympics she continued to compete for the Chinese team, participating in the 2001 East Asian Games, the University Games and the World Cup circuit.[1] Dong retired from gymnastics in 2001 at the age of 15 due to bone necrosis in her leg.[3][5] As reference, at the time of her retirement from gymnastics in 2001, Dong was still age ineligible to compete internationally as a senior as her 16th birthday didn't fall until the 2002 calendar year.

Age falsification[edit]

During her competitive career, Dong competed under a passport that gave her date of birth as 20 January 1983. However, when she was certified to work as a technical official at the 2008 Summer Olympics, she was registered with a 23 January 1986 birthdate. In addition, Dong gave the same date of birth on her CV.[5] The 1986 birthdate would have made her 13 in 1999 and 14 at the Olympics – two years below the minimum age required by the International Federation of Gymnastics.[6]

After an investigation, the FIG ruled that Dong had been underage and ineligible to compete as a senior in 1999 and 2000.[7] Consequently, Dong's scores from both the 1999 Worlds and 2000 Olympics were nullified. In April 2010, the International Olympic Committee stripped the 2000 Chinese Olympic gymnastics team of its bronze medal in the team competition.[4] The Chinese team was also stripped of their team medals from the 1999 World Championships.[7][8] In addition, the FIG billed the Chinese Gymnastics Federation for the cost of the inquiry.[7]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2010, Dong Fangxiao lives in New Zealand with her husband, where she works as a gymnastics coach at Eastern Suburbs Gymnastics club.[6] As of 2015, she had a baby boy, born in 2014.


  1. ^ a b c "No kidding: China stripped of gymnastics medal". Fox Sports Net. 28 April 2010. Archived from the original on 2 May 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Dong Fangxiao". Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Games of the XXVII Olympiad". Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "Underage gymnast costs China Sydney Olympics bronze". BBC Sport. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^