olympics

Why Eight Badminton Players Were Disqualified For Trying To Throw Olympic Matches

Here’s a step-by-step guide to undermining the legitimacy of Olympic competition.

1. The Disqualified Teams:

Michael Regan / Getty Images

China’s top-ranked Wang Xiaoli and Yang Yu (in yellow) faced off against South Korea’s Ha Na Kim and Kyung Eun Jung (in purple) yesterday. Both teams tried desperately to lose the match.

Michael Regan / Getty Images

Another South Korean team, Jung Eun Ha and Min Jung Kim (in blue) did battle with Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari (in red). But similarly they did all they could to lose. All four teams were given warnings during their matches, but play barely improved.

3. The Motivation:

Michael Regan / Getty Images

China’s Yunlei Zhao and Qing Tian had been upset by a pair from Denmark. In past years badminton medals were awarded via a simple elimination tournament, but for these Olympics a group stage was added. Since the top-ranked (and now disqualified) Wang Xiaoli and Yang Yu had already qualified for the knockout stage, they were attempting to lose so as to get a lower seed not be stuck facing their highly-skilled teammates, Yunlei and Qing, in the elimination stage. The other squads followed suit. Everyone tried to lose to ensure an easier draw in the next round.

4. The Evidence: Intentionally Crappy Play (China-South Korea)

Lazy return right into the net.

Served into the net.

Served into the net.

No real attempt at a return.

8. No seriously. It was really crappy. These are the first four points of South Korea-Indonesia.

Served into the net.

No real attempt at a return.

Served into the net.

Lazy return right into the net.

There’s something heartbreaking about how frustrated umpire Wolfgang Lund gets over the course of the three separate warnings South Korea and Indonesia received in the first set.

14. The Dissent: This is the first point following the first warning of South Korea-Indonesia.

Served softly into the net.

15. Was China-South Korea any better after the warnings?

Nope. softly served out of bounds.

16. The Crowd’s Reaction:

The two South Korean teams ended up winning both matches, but it didn’t matter as all four teams were disqualified.

The decision was made by the Badminton Federation, but was welcomed by the IOC, whose Vice President Craig Reedie said:

Reuters Pictures / Reuters

19. The Sad Moment We’ll Remember:

This is something an Olympic umpire ACTUALLY had to say to Olympic athletes. Wow.

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