Thursday, August 2, 2012

Baminton! No! Not Badminton!

Badminton! No! Not Badminton. Wait, is badminton even in the Olympics?

Why? They removed softball and left a shuttlcock in. Explain that?

We expect screw ups in the Olympics. Olympic officials cannot be expected to be more competent than NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL or NCAA officials. The bias of judges in highly subjective competitions as figure skating is legendary.

We expect doping. So far athletes have been disqualified from Bulgaria, Greece, Morocco, Russia,Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

We expect miraculous finishes and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

All in the spirit of amateurism and integrity.

Of all the functions of timekeepers, keeping accurate time seems the most basic. Nothing complicated or subjective is required. An IPhone works fine.

So they blew it in fencing three days ago.

Korean Shin a-Lan was up by a point with a second left against the defending German champ Brittany Heidemann.  

Completing an "attack" in one second is almost impossible. The last "one second" witnessed three attacks, the last scored by the German to give her a 2 point victory. The timing mechanism had stuck, and the official let the match continue.

Shin filed an appeal. The fundamental fairness of playing by the rules would seem obvious. Shin won.

Under the rules Shin had to sit on the piste during the appeal. She sat for at least half an hour, crying for 10-15 minutes. The Korean Badminton federation had to expedite payment to cover the appeals cost.

The Olympics then upheld the badminton official. Shin lost. To add insult to in joy, Shin then had to immediately compete in the bronze round. The obviously distraught Shin lost.

The integrity of the Olympics was upheld.

The International Fencing Federation offered Shin the next day a "consolation medal," whatever that is.

She rejected it, retaining her integrity and dignity.

The Koreans have a right to be upset, but they never returned the tainted boxing gold medal in 1988. American boxer Roy Jones, Jr. out punched Korean Park Si-Hue 86-36. However, the judges voted the Korean the winner by 3-2. One of the three judges admitted a mistake, and all three were subsequently disqualified.

The verdict stood. The integrity of the Olympics ad to be preserved.

1-2-3 seconds can be an eternity in the Olympics. The United States basketball team was up by a point over the Soviet Union with three seconds left in 1972. The USSR inbounded.

 Oops! Do over.

Oops! Do over.

Oops! Do over. The USSR manages a layup to win the gold.

The Americans refused the silver.

The IOC upheld the integrity of the referees by a 3-2 vote with the majority of three being from the Communist Block..

So why did 8 badminton plays get bounced yesterday in the name of Olympic integrity?

Why were 2 Korean, one Chinese, and one Indonesian team disqualified.

They played by the arcane rules of badminton. They played to lose. They played poorly.

You can win by losing in badminton in the preliminary rounds, by which the seedlings are established in the finals. The winners play the winners and the losers play the losers in the medal rounds. The strong teams wish to play the weak teams on the road to the Gold.

That has become the accepted practice in badminton. It's stupid.

But why is badminton even in the Olympics. Who cares about a flying shuttlecock?

The underlying problem is not that the eight were playing to lose, but that they were so inept in doing so. They reminded me of a classic, horribly in bad taste, Monte Python skit (5/6 British) involving the Twits. The Twits were at least funny and probably could have beaten the badminton losers. The players should train how to lose with style.

The fans, who pay obscene ticket prices, booed the 8 badminton players who played poorly by the rules.

Yu Yang, the star Chinese player, announced after the disqualification that she was quitting badminton.

Change the rules and drop badminton from the Olympics. Bring back softball.

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