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Being under-age in Gymnastics is cheating because it violates the rules set by FIG - that no gymnast my be under the age of 16.

This is a rule that is basically only relevant to women's gymnastics (due to the fact that men's gymnastics requires immense strength and overall fitness that it is practically impossible to find in boys below 16). It is only really relevant to woman's gymnastics because for female gymnasts, it is basically a race against time.

By the age of 20, most female gymnasts have retired, due to the fact their body cannot cope with strain it is put under (there are however, exections to this rule, such as Beth Tweddle (23, GB) who competed in Bars at the Olympics in Beijing (she placed 4th) and another female gymnast, who I cannot remember the name of, sadly, who won a gold Olympic medal for Germany at the age of 33).

Other factors include that younger gymnasts often have an 'edge' over older competitors, due to the fact they weigh less and are far shorter (such as the Chinese female gymnasts this year, some of whom weighed less that 85lbs and were about 4'6").

For more information/a clearer answer, I would suggest searching the FIG website -

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Q: Why is being underage cheating in Olympic gymnastics?
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