During a round of badminton matches at this year’s Olympics, doubles players Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang purposely threw their match against Korean players Kim Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun. Xiaoli and Yang (China) hit long or wide, purposefully served into the net and employed time-wasting tactics in order to lose their match against Korea. This was done so that they would not have to play a difficult team in the next round. The Koreans copied these actions. Both teams were warned by the referee and the match was restarted. In the end the Koreans won 21-14 and 21-11.
But that wasn’t the end of this unsportsmanlike conduct. The second Korean doubles team, consisting of Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung tried to throw their match against Indonesia’s Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii. This attempt was so that Jung-eun and Min-jung (Korea) would not play Wang and Yu (China) in the quarter-finals. In retaliation, the Indonesians also tried to throw the game. In the end all eight players were disqualified by the Badminton World Federation for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match.”
“It was a disgrace. We had four pairs on court trying to lose – very un-Olympic spirit. I’m furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport,” said Gail Emms, a 2004 Olympic silver Badminton medalist who was watching in the arena. Read the full story here and Yu Yang’s response here.
What do you think? Was this an example of “un-Olympic spirit”? Is there ever a time when it’s OK not to give one’s best efforts?
In many cases passion is a very desirable characteristic. People need passion to get up in the morning and do what they love. But is there such a thing as too much passion?
In July and August, Indiana Humanities is exploring the topic of “passion,” as part of its Spirit of Competition theme.