So far the most interesting scandal of the London 2012 Olympics has been the match-fixing in badminton. Yep. The shuttlecock for four Asian teams has taken its final dive.
It appears the landslide of lazy play started with a Chinese pair attempting to lose so as not to face a fellow Chinese team in the semifinal round. (They were attempting to shift into a different bracket.)
The opposing South Korean team quickly caught onto the ruse (if you could call serving repeatedly into the net a ruse) and attempted half-heartedly to under play the underplayers. Things spiraled from there in a manner most Westerners would consider comical but most Easterners considered shameful.
China’s defending olympic champion announced her retirement (as yet unconfirmed by the Chinese authorities). Overall, four teams where disqualified and sent home.
I realize there are some cultural differences at play here. Badminton to me is a backyard game played between siblings and cousins. The main impetus to keep the “birdie” aloft is to keep the dog from chewing it up thus prematurely ending the game.
But why should anyone be surprised by this sort of play? [Read more…]