Banned from Badminton

Posted: August 1, 2012 in Collaborative Posts

The Olympic motto translates to “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” This needs to be updated to accept newer more psychological forms of athletic battle. We’ve evolved as athletes since the First Olympiad and more importantly sports has become more sophisticated since then. I hate to break it to the IOC, but Pierre de Coubertine ain’t walking through that door any time soon. Which brings me to the subject of this article: the expulsion of the Chinese and Korean badminton teams from the Olympics. 

What is the goal for these athletes in the Olympics? I would argue to win. To win in an honest manner within the rules, but win nonetheless. There’s nothing illegal about working to give yourself the best advantage in the seeding of a tournament. The Chinese team looked to avoid playing the other Chinese badminton team and a loss would put them in a better position to win the tournament. Moreover, it sounds very patriotic. Why not put yourself in a position where your country’s two best teams can face each other for the goal?  

Tanking is a part of sports. It’s strategy. Not bush-league and far from illegal. When I first heard of teams “throwing” matches in the Olympics, I assumed it was because they were being paid off. Or there was some sort huge controversy surrounding both the Korean team and the Chinese team. I was almost proud of the possibility of Vegas invading and compromising the outcomes of an Olympic match. No need to outsource, America has got a monopoly on bribery and racketeering. I was perturbed to find out that these teams were disqualified for not trying hard enough to win. They were suspended for gamesmanship.  

Where do we draw the line? We will absolutely see certain teams rest their stars in the basketball tourney. Should they be suspended as well? How do we know when a team is throwing a match, game or event. If Phelps or Lochte takes it easy in the preliminary heats, should the IOC force the men to go home, because “trying your hardest” is the “Olympic Way”. The Olympics has in many ways remained behind the curve in many of athletic advancements, [Think about it. They actually BAN steroids, c’mon IOC catch up with the times]  media technology [tape delay], but there’s no reason they should  implement athletic morality into their governance.  

Allow the Olympics to be about winning and losing, then competition shall follow. Competition is not limited to effort, it involves strategy and gamesmanship. Don’t take that away from us. But, but Bunk what do we tell the kids? Turn to your child and say working smart is just as valuable as working hard.  Then tell them to hush, because you too are trying to figure out exactly “what is this sport called ‘badminton’”.  



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