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Olympic Badminton: A Shuttlecock Scandal

Eight Olympic badminton players, including China's Yu Yang, left, and Wang Xiaoli, were disqualified for tanking matches to get more favorable tournament positions. (AP)
Eight Olympic badminton players, including China's Yu Yang, left, and Wang Xiaoli, were disqualified for tanking matches to get more favorable tournament positions. (AP)

For many people in the U.S., badminton is a simple, summer game. A little backyard fun with some long-handled rackets. If the family’s feeling motivated before the guests arrive for the barbeque at the beach house, there might even be a net set up (assuming they can find it in the closet).

But badminton is an Olympic sport. And like any sport that takes itself seriously, it now has a major scandal.

As NPR reports, eight female badminton players have been disqualified from the Olympics for intentionally losing matches in an effort to line up easier paths to gold later in the tournament.

The ban involves one team from China, another from Indonesia, and two from South Korea.

If you’re thinking, “I don’t know all that much about badminton,” don’t feel bad. As the scandal began to unfold, the International Olympic Committee quickly whacked the birdie of control over to the Badminton World Federation, allowing the sport’s governing body to handle the penalties.

This program aired on August 1, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Doug Tribou Twitter Reporter/Producer
Doug Tribou was formerly a reporter and producer at WBUR and for WBUR's Only A Game.

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