Seriously…I had to do a double take on the headline, Olympic badminton teams disqualified for throwing matches. This is so contrary to sport, I am not sure where to start.
For those of you not aware, according to the vast information available, four badminton teams were disqualified from the Olympic Games for throwing matches, including “world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China.” Their purpose, to secure themselves an easier opponent (better “draw”) in upcoming rounds.
Here, take a look (scroll down slightly to video):
And ABC’s take on the match:
As a former athlete, as a former coach, as a parent of athletes, and an author of the book Becoming a True Champion, I despise this type of unsportsmanlike behavior. It is a true demonstration of a “winning at all costs” attitude I cannot and will not ever support. A champion, a real (true) champion, would not even dream of such behavior. As was quoted in the linked piece above by “IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press. ‘Such behavior is incompatible with the Olympic values.’ I emphatically agree!!!
And to those who might claim that this is a simple and smart strategy no different than say Ryan Lochte coasting in to conserve energy for his next race after he has secured his position for the next round, I would say they are not even close. He is not losing on purpose to be able to compete against an inferior opponent. In fact, him conserving energy like that does come with some risk, especially when it is in a preliminary round where other swimmers might beat his time and keep him out of the top eight.
If we want to draw a more fair comparison with Lochte, one more equitable in nature, it would be like a badminton doubles team who is superior in skill to their opponent, handily defeating them during the match and in total control, relaxing a little to conserve energy but still playing the game as it is intended to be played. That is a fair comparison and one that would not have gotten them disqualified.
Any athlete, or team for that matter, who deliberately throws a game or match, for just about any reason I can think of, isn’t worthy of the name - athlete. I congratulate the badminton federation for their stance and hope that their action puts an end to nonsense like this. Their behavior, these eight badminton players, is worthy of strict criticism. From my perspective, the more the better.