It’s hard to believe that all the female Olympic Chinese gymnasts are 16, the minimum age for competition. Clearly, some of them are little girls. Athletic, limber, fearless little girls, but still. Their proof of age? Passports. I suspect though, that unlike in the United States, it doesn’t take 52 forms of identification and your mother’s sworn testimony to get a passport. They might actually be tailor-made, if you know what I mean. The argument is that younger girls are in their prime (!) and aren’t as affected by the magnitude of the games because they’re too young to understand what’s on the line. Those 21-year-olds? Over the hill.
Personally, I’d like to know how I could get a Chinese passport, because if reclaiming your youth is as easy as that…well. I imagine the exchange at the passport office might go something like this:
Me: Hello, I’d like to apply for a passport.
Chinese official: Of course. How old are you?
Me: How old am I? Um, I’m…29. Yup, 29.
Such a simple way to shave a few years off your age. Off to Beijing.