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China just can’t seem to keep their story straight.

First He’s 14, as reported by China’s official English-language paper on May 23rd.

Then He’s 16, proud holder of a passport with a 1992 birthday.

Now He’s 13, at least according to a report published last November by China’s government sponsored news agency.

Regardless of age, one thing’s for sure: He’s a lady.  And maybe, just maybe, the source of more confusion than any person on the planet at the moment.

Since well before the Chinese women took home the overall Gold on Monday night, competitor He Kexing has been at the center of a raging controversy over the ages of China’s delegates.  According to reports, online documents which reported He’s age to be 13 as of last year disappeared just in time for China to submit a passport listing her birthday as January 1, 1992.  Now, one such document has surfaced, a listing of gifted young Chinese athletes published at the end of last year by the government.

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In January of 2007, when American investors Tom Hicks and George Gillett first emerged as the front-runners to assume ownership of Liverpool FC, I could hardly have been a more ardent supporter of the plan.  Following Roman Abramovich’s takeover of Chelsea FC and Malcolm Glazer’s acquisition of Manchester United, the face of English football changed dramatically.  Gone was any semblance of parity throughout the league; clubs without strong global marketing strategies and huge transfer funds could not be expected to compete for the title.  Despite Mr. Glazer’s vilification by the Man U faithful for turning their sporting club into a business venture, it seemed abundantly clear that Liverpool needed to follow the same route.

Liverpool, after all, have a reputation as the most successful club in England.  They have won the top division of English soccer eighteen times and scaled the heights of continental glory, having been crowned the best team in Europe on no less than five occasions.  Certainly times have not always been so rosy, a point which the two consecutive decades of domestic underachievement (with not a single league title won) have driven home.  However, given the club’s pedigree and the impending construction of a shiny new 60,000 seat stadium, it only made sense to turn the club into a money-making enterprise capable of generating the funds necessary to compete with its world-beating rivals – teams like Chelsea, Barcelona, AC Milan, and Man U.  Besides, Hicks seemed to have done a fine job of running Dallas’ NHL franchise (the near-and-dear to my heart Stars) since acquiring the club a decade earlier.  Admittedly my view was more optimistic than most, but as a die-hard Liverpool fan, I happily threw my red-blooded support behind the changing of the guard.

Over the intervening months, however, my feelings made the slow transition from being squarely onboard the Hicks/Gillett bandwagon to the somewhat less optimistic “GETMEOFFGETMEOFF!! OH LORD NOW I’M OFF AND THE BANDWAGON IS RUNNING ME OVER AND TOM HICKS IS PISSING ON MY DREAMS!”

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