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Biggest Controversies in Olympic Badminton History

How Can a Few Feathers Cause Such a Fuss?

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Biggest Controversies in Olympic Badminton History

Lin Dan in Full Discussion

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It's really a beautiful game, yet the gentle flight of the shuttle as it descends is accompanied by controversy. It's as if there's a heated argument for every back-and-forth of the shuttle! In Olympic badminton, the arguments even begin long before the start of actual play. With a world-wide audience, and so much at stake (like national pride, personal pride, and commercial endorsements), that's just how it is.

Here are a few Olympic badminton controversies to get you started:
  • Complete turnover of the Board of USA Badminton: This one characterizes the state of Olympic badminton in the US. You can learn all about it by reading the part about the new bylaws at the official website of USA Badminton. The short story is that because of prior controversies with the administration and management of Olympic badminton in the US, the proposed new bylaws call for the entire existing board to resign, and for the new board to include only members who have never before been members of the board. There is a strong push for a fresh start, organizational transparency, and independent directors to balance the board.

  • Historic disagreements about the proper role of strong sponsors of USA badminton: The best way to learn about this controversy is to take a look at the memo and open letters posted on the website of the Orange County Badminton Club. However you read and interpret the history there, you'll see controversies galore, with perceived or real conflicts of interest; many strong feelings and assertions; careers being made, hindered or broken; and an amazing lack of governance and structure. Based on these letters alone, it is not at all surprising that the board of USA Badminton is working to improve its bylaws.

  • Players punching their coaches!: At least this isn't our problem here in the US! China's top player, Lin Dan, recently argued with his coach, Ji Xinpeng (men's badminton singles Olympic gold medalist in 2000), and reportedly punched him at courtside during a practice. The source for this controversy is none other than the official Beijing Olympic badminton website! As Lin Dan has previously squared off against his opponent's coaches as well, stay tuned for more action once Olympic play begins!

  • Players switching countries when they don't get the sponsorship they want or need: Mia Audina won a silver medal for Indonesia in 1996, in women's singles badminton. In 2004, she repeated the feat, winning another silver medal. This time it was for the Netherlands! Enough said?

  • Line calls not going the right way during a tough match: At least these badminton controversies are on court, and are often caught on camera so that they can be resolved most fairly. In these cases, top players feel they know much more than the linesman who's dedicated solely to the task of making the right line call. As in most racquet sports, bad calls do tend to even out in the end, but they sure raise the temperature during competition!
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