Badminton scandal eliminates several olympic teams
Olympics, Summer

Olympic badminton scandal rocks the world. Wait, what?

8/1/12 in Olympics, Summer   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Aug 1, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Media members and journalist listen as Thomas Lund, COO of Badminton World Federation speaks during a press conference prior to the women's doubles semifinals during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Arena. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsSeveral badminton teams have been disqualified from Olympic competition after it was determined that they were throwing preliminary matches in order to receive a more favorable draw in the tournament.

With the current format, the teams are split into several 4-team groups, and the top 2 teams from each group advance to the tournament after round robin play.

If one of the higher ranked teams doesn't win their group and finishes 2nd, they'll end up playing the 1st place team in another group. That first place team suddenly would have a much tougher opponent than their 2nd place counterpart.

Because of this, several teams have tried to lose matches intentionally in order to avoid facing some of the elite teams.

Also, in some cases, two teams from the same country could face each other in the early rounds of the tournament, which China was in jeopardy of, so they tried to lose in order to face the other Chinese team in the final, instead.

After an investigation, several teams were disqualified from the tournament, and rightfully so.

Clearly there is a problem with the format, because it should never be advantageous to lose. That's just common sense.

For now, 2 South Korean teams and teams from Indonesia and China have been disqualified, opening the door for previously eliminated teams from Russia, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

In case you're wondering what it looks like when someone tries to throw a badminton match, here you go:


Video H/T: CBS
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8/4/12   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Maybe I am simply naive, but I have watched enough of the Gold medal ceremonies and seen the pride an athlete displays in winning gold for their country.  To me the Olympics aren't just about winning, but about integrity, honor and the will to win, not just for yourself, but for your country.  If you aren't playing honestly, then part of the purpose of the Olympics is stripped away.  Those competitors didn't demonstrate honor, integrity or pride in themselves, they just have a win at all costs mentality.  To me those competitors aren't the definition of a true Olympic athlete.  

As I said, naive and idealistic.  And I'm also damn proud to be that way.
(Edited by ML31)

Refreshing that some people still opt to cling to something that hasn't existed for a very long time.  I still kind of do that with MLB and that stupid wild card thing.  Sadly, that aspect of the Olympics was stripped away the instant Juan Antonio Samaranch lobbied to do away with amateurism from the games.  However, that said, even if the games were still played by amateurs there STILL isn't anything wrong with what those badmintoners did.  They broke no rule.  (If they did I will thank whoever can point out what rule they violated.)  They were punished because officials didn't like their game plan for winning the gold.  I honestly cannot see what they did as any kind of lack of respect or integrity at any level.  They weren't getting paid off to lose the match.  They weren't trying to get disqualified.  They were trying to win and got punished for it.  Only in the Olympic Games can athletes get punished for the sins of the organizers.

8/4/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

ML31 wrote:
That's all well and good...  But I still fail to see what good punishing teams for choosing a legal yet unpleasant strategy for winning the gold medal does.  Why punish athletes for choosing a LEGAL avenue made available by the poor planning of tournament organizers?

Maybe I am simply naive, but I have watched enough of the Gold medal ceremonies and seen the pride an athlete displays in winning gold for their country.  To me the Olympics aren't just about winning, but about integrity, honor and the will to win, not just for yourself, but for your country.  If you aren't playing honestly, then part of the purpose of the Olympics is stripped away.  Those competitors didn't demonstrate honor, integrity or pride in themselves, they just have a win at all costs mentality.  To me those competitors aren't the definition of a true Olympic athlete.  

As I said, naive and idealistic.  And I'm also damn proud to be that way.

8/4/12   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Debi_L wrote:
My opinion really has nothing to do with my country's second chance.  That's just a bonus.  But while we agree that the ones who look bad are the people organizing the events, I still feel it is an honor to compete at the Olympics, not a right.  I also feel that no one who competes at the Olympics should be a professional, and I've always felt that way.  So I have no sympathy for the teams who threw the matches.  I just don't care a whit whether they are high end or low end, they threw the match - blatantly - and deserve to be disqualified.  Hopefully the organizers will see what their stupidity has created.

That's all well and good...  But I still fail to see what good punishing teams for choosing a legal yet unpleasant strategy for winning the gold medal does.  Why punish athletes for choosing a LEGAL avenue made available by the poor planning of tournament organizers?

8/4/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

ML31 wrote:
I understand the argument for the spirit of sportsmanship and the high road of true competition and what not.  But let's be honest here... All that went out the window the instant the IOC abolished amateurism from the games.  For the high end teams like the Korean and Chinese badmintoners it truly is all about the winning at whatever the cost so long as no rules are violated.  The ones who truly look bad here are the people who are running this tournament who thus far are refusing to take the blame for what is so obviously of their own making.  And teams who broke no game rules at all took the hit for it. 

I'm sure you are happy your country's team is getting a 2nd chance here.  So I can understand why you feel like you do about this.  Speaking as someone who has no dog in the fight, it just doesn't seem right to DQ teams for no rule violation of any kind.  But that's today's Olympics for you.

PS...  Finally saw some video earlier this evening.  Yes, it's a blatant as I heard.  And while sure is ugly, my opinion hasn't changed.  It's merely game strategy.  Nothing more.  Shouldn't get DQ'd for that.

My opinion really has nothing to do with my country's second chance.  That's just a bonus.  But while we agree that the ones who look bad are the people organizing the events, I still feel it is an honor to compete at the Olympics, not a right.  I also feel that no one who competes at the Olympics should be a professional, and I've always felt that way.  So I have no sympathy for the teams who threw the matches.  I just don't care a whit whether they are high end or low end, they threw the match - blatantly - and deserve to be disqualified.  Hopefully the organizers will see what their stupidity has created.

8/3/12   |   kobe_lova   |   61928 respect

There's a badminton disagreement happening right now? Gotta love The Olympics!

8/3/12   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Although I understand what you are saying, and even agree that the format is broken, NOT the teams, the Olympics are for showing the very best of the best to the rest of the world.  The teams are there to demonstrate their very best.  If they are truly doing that, it shouldn't matter who they are matched up against.  It would have made more of an impression to the world if the coaches of the mismatched teams had gone to the other teams and made their point.  Perhaps, just perhaps, in the interest of true competition in the spirit of the Olympic games, the rest of the teams would have agreed and made a truly united front in approaching whoever is responsible for the match ups.  Surely they could have made an adjustment, if it were a united front.  The actions of the teams, to blatantly throw the matches, won nothing for anyone, except those teams, such as the Canadians, who were previously eliminated.  Those teams, thankfully, won an opportunity to compete again, and possibly win medals.  
(Edited by ML31)

I understand the argument for the spirit of sportsmanship and the high road of true competition and what not.  But let's be honest here... All that went out the window the instant the IOC abolished amateurism from the games.  For the high end teams like the Korean and Chinese badmintoners it truly is all about the winning at whatever the cost so long as no rules are violated.  The ones who truly look bad here are the people who are running this tournament who thus far are refusing to take the blame for what is so obviously of their own making.  And teams who broke no game rules at all took the hit for it. 

I'm sure you are happy your country's team is getting a 2nd chance here.  So I can understand why you feel like you do about this.  Speaking as someone who has no dog in the fight, it just doesn't seem right to DQ teams for no rule violation of any kind.  But that's today's Olympics for you.

PS...  Finally saw some video earlier this evening.  Yes, it's a blatant as I heard.  And while sure is ugly, my opinion hasn't changed.  It's merely game strategy.  Nothing more.  Shouldn't get DQ'd for that.

8/3/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

ML31 wrote:
No, I did not see any video of this.  I have heard a lot of comments of what they were doing and yes, it did sound like it was VERY blatant.  To which I still say, so what?  The tournament set up is the cause of this.  To be honest, I applaud them for making it obvious.  Those players made no excuses and were 100% honest and up front about their strategy to win gold. 

I have no idea if the International sports federations or the IOC or both determine tournament formats.  But I should think this ought to make whoever is responsible for them to re-think the set ups.

Although I understand what you are saying, and even agree that the format is broken, NOT the teams, the Olympics are for showing the very best of the best to the rest of the world.  The teams are there to demonstrate their very best.  If they are truly doing that, it shouldn't matter who they are matched up against.  It would have made more of an impression to the world if the coaches of the mismatched teams had gone to the other teams and made their point.  Perhaps, just perhaps, in the interest of true competition in the spirit of the Olympic games, the rest of the teams would have agreed and made a truly united front in approaching whoever is responsible for the match ups.  Surely they could have made an adjustment, if it were a united front.  The actions of the teams, to blatantly throw the matches, won nothing for anyone, except those teams, such as the Canadians, who were previously eliminated.  Those teams, thankfully, won an opportunity to compete again, and possibly win medals.  

8/2/12   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Pat wrote:
While I agree with your basic premise, I have to ask: did you watch the video?

It's one thing to subtly throw a match. It's an entirely different issue when the best in the world are putting on an exhibition that would embarrass middle schoolers.

I agree, the system is clearly broken. But if you're going to throw the match, you can't make it THAT obvious. This applies in every situation, ever. You have to at least make it look like you're trying.

No, I did not see any video of this.  I have heard a lot of comments of what they were doing and yes, it did sound like it was VERY blatant.  To which I still say, so what?  The tournament set up is the cause of this.  To be honest, I applaud them for making it obvious.  Those players made no excuses and were 100% honest and up front about their strategy to win gold. 

I have no idea if the International sports federations or the IOC or both determine tournament formats.  But I should think this ought to make whoever is responsible for them to re-think the set ups.

8/2/12   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

ML31 wrote:
Where is the disgrace is trying to give yourself the best chance at winning a medal?  Why kick the players out?  Kick out whoever created and approved of a tournament format which encourages this sort of thing.  This is a very easy fix.  You could eliminate the preliminaries and just go straight to knock out matches.  Or you could have only one team from each group advancing in the "round robin" portion of the tourny. 

Again...  Don't punish the players for using the rules!

While I agree with your basic premise, I have to ask: did you watch the video?

It's one thing to subtly throw a match. It's an entirely different issue when the best in the world are putting on an exhibition that would embarrass middle schoolers.

I agree, the system is clearly broken. But if you're going to throw the match, you can't make it THAT obvious. This applies in every situation, ever. You have to at least make it look like you're trying.

8/2/12   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Where is the disgrace is trying to give yourself the best chance at winning a medal?  Why kick the players out?  Kick out whoever created and approved of a tournament format which encourages this sort of thing.  This is a very easy fix.  You could eliminate the preliminaries and just go straight to knock out matches.  Or you could have only one team from each group advancing in the "round robin" portion of the tourny. 

Again...  Don't punish the players for using the rules!

8/2/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Just watched the Canadian story on this.  The Canadian Badminton team was eliminated early and found out this morning that they would be competing again, thanks to the disqualification.    And CTV showed several displays from each of the matches.....my daughter and her teenaged friends play better badminton than those teams were demonstrating.  What a disgrace.