By NBF News

Dong Fangxiao (right) was 14-years-old when she won the bronze medal

China have been been stripped of the Olympic bronze medal won by the women's gymnastic team at the 2000 Games in Sydney for using an underage gymnast.

The International Olympic Committee acted after investigations determined that gymnast Dong Fangxiao was only 14 years old at the 2000 Games.

Gymnasts must turn 16 during the Olympic year to be eligible.

The United States women's team, who finished in fourth place in Sydney, will now take the bronze medal.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) carried out the investigation and subsequently recommended the IOC take the medal back.

The IOC executive board upheld the request and formally stripped the medal on the first day of a two-day meeting in Dubai.

Dong was also stripped of her sixth-place result in the individual floor exercises and seventh place in the vault.

The FIG had previously cleared five Chinese gymnasts suspected of being underage at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, after Chinese officials provided original passports, ID cards and family registers showing all of the gymnasts were old enough to compete.

But the FIG had said following that investigation it was not satisfied with “the explanations and evidence provided to date” for Dong and a second gymnast, Yang Yun from the 2000 Olympic team.

However, FIG investigators did not find sufficient evidence to prove Yang, who also won a bronze medal on uneven bars in 2000, was underage so she received only a warning.