Dr. Chow Wins Olympic Medal at 31

The IOC strips China of Bronze, awards Team USA

By Kris Sanchez and Vicky Nguyen
|  Thursday, Apr 29, 2010  |  Updated 12:30 PM PDT
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Bay Area Olympian and peninsula resident Amy Chow earned an Olympic medal this week for something she did 10 years ago.

Chow, now 31, was part of the 1996 team where she earned team gold and an individual medal in uneven bars. In 2000, she was part of Team USA again, but the women placed 4th at the Sydney games. It was the first time the American women's gymnastics team left the Olympics without a medal since 1976.

Tonight, Chow learned she and her teammates will get the bronze after all. An investigation by the International Gymnastics Federation revealed one of the Chinese gymnasts, Dong Fangxiao was just 14 during the competition, 2 years shy of the age requirement.

Chow says, "During the games we were disappointed with the placing. It's really exciting to get a amedal but I really feel bad for the Chinese. They were working just as hard was we were and their dreams were just as big dreams as ours were so I feel bad for them."

In the ten years between competing in Sydney and being awarded the bronze medal, Chow stayed here in the Bay Area. The San Jose native graduated from medical school at Stanford University and is now a pediatric resident at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. She will graduate in June and begin practicing at PAMF in Dublin in the fall.

But first, Chow will be tying the knot. And she plans to fulfill a request by her fiance--to show him her original Olympic medals. Chow says, "My two medals, the gold and silver, are actually in the bank right now. I put them there in '97 for safety reasons and I kind of never took them out [laughs].  I'm getting married soon and my fiance wanted to see them. He's like 'how come I haven't even seen them?' and I'm like, 'I haven't seen them either!' "

It's unclear exactly how or when Chow and her teammates will receive their medals. The IOC is in the process of getting them back from the Chinese team.

The IOC determined that one of the athletes who competed for China in the 2000 games was just 14 years old at the time instead of the required 16. When Dong Fangxiao's age was questioned at the time of competition, Chinese officials provided passports, ID cards and family registers.  Following an investigation, Dong's individual results were nullified.  That happened in February. The team medal reversal came today.

The other members of the Magnificent Seven are Jamie Dantzscher, Dominique Dawes, Kristin Maloney, Elise Ray and Tasha Schwikert.

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