The Good, The Bad, & The Badminton

The Good, The Bad, & The Badminton

The modern Olympic Games have seen some scandals and controversies in the past, but as Laura McLay observes, “I never thought I’d hear the words ‘badminton’ and ‘scandal’ in the same sentence.”  In the Olympic Badminton preliminaries several national teams decided to throw matches in order to draw weaker opponents in subsequent rounds. The big-time birdie-chasers weren’t world-class cheaters, though, and the whole mess became a big shuttlecock-up. The woman athletes were so obviously unsporting that the IOC Racquet Squad threw them out of the Games. Two were from China, four from South Korea and two from Indonesia. The pair from China have been identified as Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli, the world doubles champions.

World-class badminton isn’t the innocent backyard-and-beach birdie-bashing you may remember. The Malaysia-based Badminton World Federation has anti-gambling and anti-doping initiatives.


“When is the optimal strategy is to throw a badminton match?” Laura McLay, Punk Rock Operations Research

Olympic badminton scandal serious business for the sport, comedy for everyone else,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“London Calling: The Science of Shuttlecocks,” Eoin Lettice, Communicate Science

“Badminton scandal: the game’s flawed, not the players,” Martha Gill,  New Statesman

NBC Olympic Badminton coverage here.


Short Link:

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “The Good, The Bad, & The Badminton”

  1. Laura McLay Says:

    Nice article! Thanks for the link to my blog.

    Thanks for the great lede and fine discussion of “strategic sacrifices” (throwing games) in sports. -ml

  2. Mike Licht Says:


    “Homemade Highlights: Olympic Badminton Scandal [video],” WSJ Live

    “Indonesian Pair Say Sorry for Olympic Badminton Scandal,” Jakarta Globe

    “Top British cyclist wrapped in cheating scandal after teammate admits he fell on purpose so he could restart race – but they can KEEP gold medal,” David Williams, Daily Mail

    “China’s Yu Yang quits badminton after Olympic match-fixing disqualification,” Tania Branigan and Peter Walker, The Guardian

  3. World-Class Competition « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] with all the hype about those badminton, horse-dancing, and bikini-ball contests in London, you might have missed last week’s really […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: