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Ideals, reality clash at Olympic badminton

By John Leicester

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Leicester's argument that the athletes were playing to win by trying to lose is sound. It isn't a black and white issue.

Where the IOC has structured the way competitors advance in a tournament inappropriately, the IOC needs to change the system. Every point must count. If there is the potential for a draw, every shot on goal should be counted for or every fault mean a deduction. That alone would do a great deal to eliminate the problem.

Historically there always have been and there continue to be a number of incidents of doping, cheating or playing the system in the Olympics. As Leicester points out, with national pride and millions at stake for the colour of a medal won or lost in hundredths of seconds or mere millimeters--that's not going to change. The dissonance between the flawed and romantic Olympic ideal and the reality of big business driving the competition is simply more than obvious in this incident. Already the apologists are back-pedaling on the question like crazy and the Chinese coach is "taking" the blame, absolving the players. (No doubt carefully considering 2016's options all the while.)

Perhaps, as they did with the judging debacle in figure skating some years ago, the IOC and other federations of sport will work to make it harder for Olympians to cheat or lose in order to win.

Or perhaps the spectators ought to choose the Para-Olympics if they want to see heart on the field.

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Why would you read an article based on a subject you think is rubbish?

I think they need to change the tournament style to avoid this sort of problem. They should base the tournament on points, so that the team with the most points will be place at the top. (The most wins). For teams that have the same number of wins, you would then use the total number of points won during the games.

As an option, you could have the top 4 teams play for the finals.

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Badminton is rubbish anyway.

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I've heard this practice is quite common in Asian competitions. But it's still inexcusable.

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Not so easy to pigeonhole this scandal. It's easy to just say the athletes had it coming, and boo and jeer them. However, the picture isn't as black and white. Just like this article says, the reality is often very different from the ideal we should be aiming for.

Do I think these disqualifications are deserved? Yes. These players should be disqualified, not to show off the toughness of the rules or whatever but because they genuinely disrespected their place in the Olympics.

But it is no less factual that these players were trying to get the most out of what their years of training and their place in the Olympics gave them a chance at. The Olympics were made to celebrate sportsmanship and be a friendly, bloodless competition between varied and diverse cultures and countries. Yet the reality of the competition today is that of money and a paper chase (or medal in this case).

How do we resolve this? Is it even possible to resolve this disconnect? Well, that's what debates and commentary articles are for: the explore the problem. Just coming up with a simple, cut and dry conclusion, that these players "deserve it" and end the story here isn't going to help solve the underlying problem plaguing the Olympics.

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So to summarise a needlessly long article.

The folks who were disqualified had it coming to them. Good riddance. Olympics is not all about the athletes, its is for the enjoyment of the rest of the world who are enjoying viewing the competitions. Part of the blame falls on the new rules, should hopefully get amended next time.
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