The age requirement for FIG competitions was raised from 15 to 16 in 1997 (the year after Bruno Grandi was elected to FIG President) - if you're 16 by the end of the year, it's ok. Now Grandi is pushing for the 16 years old age reuirement for all international competitions:
[quote]Grandi has previously stated his desire for the age limit to be 18. He is now stating that there shouldn't be any international competition for juniors, such as the Junior European Championships, Junior Pan Am Championships or dual meets between two countries.
"Gymnasts should only be allowed to compete in international stage when they are mature physically and mentally," Grandi said. [/quote]
Nadia Comaneci's response:
[quote]"I was great at 14 because I was good at 11," Comaneci said.
She said an FIG ban on junior competition won't stop gymnasts from training elite-level skills, but will put gymnasts from small and developing countries at a disadvantage.
"Countries like the U.S. are so big, and have so many good gymnasts, that the state of Oklahoma could compete against Nebraska and it would be strong competition," she said. "But what about the small countries with like, 10 gymnasts total. Who will they compete with?" [/quote]
It's funny in the IG article they keep using the term 'age limit', implying that you shouldn't be older than that age...in women's gymnastics especially there is a conception in coach's/media's minds that you should start young, compete young, at 22 you're old...not so in men's gymnastics.
Changing the age restriction to 18 would probably make the coaches change their training program schedule to peak at that time and not burn out soon and to be careful of overuse injuries, rather than focusing on junior international competition at such a young age and to be in a hurry to get that experience to be ready for the Olympics at age 16. Then again, you peak when you peak. Related: Kim Gwang Suk - 1992 Olympics age controversy -> http://www.gymchat.com/messageboards/viewtopic.php?t=407
. Bela Karolyi accuses: "her milk teeth are falling out which is a good indication she's not even 11", while he has been accused of falsifying age records too.
[quote]1986: FIG raised minimum age for competing in senior level competitions from 14 to 15
1997: from 15 to 16 for children's health
The gymnasts -- Alexandra Marinescu, Gina Gogean, Monica Zahiu and Daniela Silivas -- claim coaches and gymnastics officials forced them to declare themselves older so they could compete in senior-level world competitions. Romanian officials deny the allegations. [/quote]
It would be interesting to ask what Bela Karolyi and the Romanian gymnasts who were told to lie about their age, and Kim Gwang Suk and other gymnasts what they think about the age restrictions.