KSR College Does the Olympics: Badminton
If I make it through this post without ONE explicit joke about shuttlecocks, I’ll consider it a success.
So, badminton. I happen to consider myself something of an expert on the sport. I mean, we had the two week course in high school gym like every other school in the state, but my knowledge goes far beyond the elementary. In fact, I am a college-educated badminton player. That’s right. Upon receiving my first semester schedule at Transylvania University (oldest school west of the Alleghenies!), I noticed that I was enrolled in a half semester of badminton. What luck! For three hours a week, I received a liberal arts education in the sport. My peers and I were schooled in the sport’s history, critically analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of serving first, and held thought-provoking debates about synthetic versus natural shuttlecocks (Tha-…but… eeek… JOKE SUCCESSFULLY WITHHELD).
Not really. Mostly we just played badminton a lot.
You get surprisingly sweaty playing badminton for an hour.
Back to the Olympics. I’ll break it down, mathematical. Five events (men’s/women’s singles, men’s/women’s doubles, mixed doubles). 172 athletes (three from the USA). Mix of group and knockout play (drama!). July 28-August 5. And, Asia.
Yup, Asia generally dominates the world in badminton (side note: what is it about badminton and table tennis that makes Asia kick our ass so consistently? You can’t say racquet sports, because we’re better at tennis. I just want to know!). Since the event’s inception in 1992, Asians have won 69 out of 76 events. That’s a lot. China, in particular, is the favorite nation this year with four of the world’s top-ranked players out of the five events (the men’s doubles team is ranked number two). China could easily sweep all five events. Read that again to fully comprehend. I’ll wait.
… Good? Okay, proceeding to the video portion of this blog. May I present to you, defending gold medalist Lin Dan: the world’s greatest badminton player and the sport’s closest thing to a celebrity. He’s a southpaw and apparently nicknamed Super Dan. Get it? Like Superman? It took me a second. Okay. Highlights.
But you know what’s even cooler than his badminton skillz? HE’S A REBEL! A BAD BOY! A bad boy in a sport known in the U.S. for its prevalence at garden parties, no less! Who knew that was possible? Dan once allegedly punched a coach after a bad call. Not only does he punch other people’s coaches, but he once punched his own coach at training camp! Forget long rallies with the shuttlecock (pause), I want to see a fight! I want to see Lin Dan hit Prince Harry with his badminton racquet! I’m all worked up just thinking about it.
Enough about Lin Dan. Enough about Asia. On to some other tidbits.
-USA is represented in men’s doubles and women’s singles. Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan will pair up in their attempt to SHOCK THE WORLD- which could conceivably happen, seeing as how they won the 2005 World Championship- the first ever gold medal for the USA in badminton. Rena Wang recently won a gold in women’s singles for the 2011 Peru International Badminton Championships. Bach is Vietnamese, Gunawan was born in Indonesia, and Wang speaks Mandarin- hopefully our melting pot approach gives Team USA the chance to compete with China, etc.
-In mixed doubles, EnglandGreat Britain (how American of me) has a hot-shot duo in Chris Adcock (BITING MY TONGUE SO HARD) and Imogen Bankier. The pair will look to ride the home court advantage, which has spurred them on in previous instances. They’re only seeded tenth and coincidentally, have only been playing together for ten months- but Adcock is a lefty and Bankier is a righty, making them a tricky matchup for opponents.
-And finally, in news of the weird, Australia’s badminton team suffered food poisoning today at the team’s training camp in England. They are expected to recover by Thursday. No word on which London food was the offendor, although knowing their culinary reputation, I’m sure the possibilities are endless.
Well, that was fun. Let’s do it again sometime, only with diving. I promise less sexual innuendos will be involved.