Has anyone read this story? Are you familiar with what's happening? Well apparently four pairs of female Badminton doubles players are being charged with "not using one's best efforts to win a match"*. The World Badminton Federation (who knew such a thing existed) has decided to launch disciplinary proceedings against the eight players from China, South Korea and Indonesia. The doubles pairs were scheduled to compete today, but now it's unclear what will happen. To give an example, the longest rally in one game was only four strokes! The audience watching actually booed! To sum up, they are accused of trying to throw matches in order to manipulate their position. China's and South Korea's doubles pairs didn't want to meet their teammates in the semi-finals.
One of the South Korean coaches blames China, claiming that it was their strategy first. Honestly, it's all a little silly. I can't help but think that there are probably many instances of athletes not trying hard enough but they never went through any disciplinary proceedings. Still, the issue has come up and it's left me wondering, is attempting to lose a legitimate strategy?
If you were a professional athlete selected to compete in the Olympics and made it to the quarter-finals then found out you might have to play against your own country, what would you do? I think most people would be tempted. Still, this strategy defeats the whole purpose of the Olympics. It crushes the Olympic spirit.
Personally I don't think that the players should be disqualified. Perhaps it's not necessarily in the "Olympic spirit" but they got to their positions by playing well, did they not? How can one evaluate how hard someone is trying anyway? Despite the accused lack of effort, is it really their fault if they found a way to make it work to their advantage? If anything, I blame the game itself. It doesn't make sense to me that at any point two teams from the same country should have to face each other. I think it causes this precise conundrum.
Conundrums aside, the London 2012 Summer Olympics have been exciting and awe-inspiring. It is our duty as citizens of the world to watch the Olympics and cheer for our country! So here's to Canada! Congratulations to Christine Girard in Weightlifting, Antoine Valois-Fortier in Judo; Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans in Women's Synchronized 3m Diving, and Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion in Women's Synchronized 10m Diving!
*If you want to know the full story, you can read it on the BBC, CBC and The Globe and Mail.
Update: The Badminton players were disqualified.
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