Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Olympic badminton controversy: cheating or just strategizing?

by Patt Morrison

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A combination of pictures on August 1, 2012, shows eight badminton players that were disqualified Wednesday in a match-fixing scandal at the Olympic badminton tournament in London. (Top Row L-R) South Korea's Kim Ha Na, Ha Jung-Eun, Kim Min-Jung, Jung Kyung-Eun. (Bottom Row L-R) Indonesia's Greysia Polii, Meiliana Jauhari and China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang. STAFF/AFP/Getty Images

Badminton, an often overlooked sport is now making international headlines.

In the ultra-competitive Olympics, all winning points of strategy must be considered. For China, South Korea and Indonesia, this is what they did. But for the officials, they deemed it cheating.

The eight competitors who were ousted lost the rounds on purpose in order to enter the knockout round with a lower seeding. The point is to avoid having a more talented team early in the tournament.

The top-seeded pair from China, Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang were ousted. Two pairs from South Korea were too: Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na as well as Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung. Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari of Indonesia were also disqualified.

However, this controversy leads many to question which side is fair. Japanese women’s soccer team was instructed to not score in their final group game Tuesday against South Africa, which gave them a more favorable match-up in the next round. Michael Phelps admitted to not swimming his best in the trials to save energy. Yet officials issued no punishment in these two situations. Why is there a difference for badminton?


Do you believe their disqualification was fair? Do you think teams should be allowed to lose on purpose for the greater goal of victory?


Daniel Durbin, director of the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society; his classes include Sports Ethics

David Wharton, sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times; has covered the Olympics starting with the LA Olympics in 1984

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