A major scandal has rocked the Olympic badminton community, a community so isolated that the scandal has barely made a peep in all the other Olympic communities. The story is still emerging and the media may jump on it because it’s so unusual, but don’t be surprised if this article is the only thing you ever read about the great 2012 Olympic badminton scandal.
Eight athletes have been kicked out of the Olympics for intentionally trying to lose their round-robin badminton games. The athletes in question are on the women’s doubles badminton teams of China, South Korea and Indonesia.
The list of badminton players kicked out includes the gold medal favorites from China, Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, as well as South Koreans Jung Kyung Eun, Kim Ha Na, Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung and the Indonesian duo of Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari. If you have heard of any of those people before, congratulations–you are the world’s biggest (and possibly only) badminton fan.
These women were seen intentionally hitting the birdie (official name: shuttlecock) into the net and out of bounds. They intentionally set up their opponents with easy shots, only to watch their opponents miss them. A few were even spotted holding their rackets incorrectly, something that isn’t exactly normal for elite athletes.
Why were these women trying to lose at badminton? That part of the scandal is still unclear. Perhaps they just got bored with the sport (who wouldn’t?) and wanted to go home. In all seriousness, though, the teams were probably trying to lose because it would give them a better match-up in the second round of the Olympic badminton tournament–the elimination round.
The International Olympic Committee, unsurprisingly, doesn’t exactly like it when athletes try to lose. Something about the integrity of the Olympics and all that stuff…
Badminton may not be the most popular sport at the Olympics, but it’s a sport nonetheless. Sports require competition and what the expelled athletes were doing was not competing. They deserved to be kicked out and they should be banned from all future badminton competitions, too.
The Olympics also needs to re-consider the format of the badminton tournament for future events. A round-robin tournament in which losing can improve your slotting for the next round is obviously not working.