Aug. 10, 2012 — Last week, the rarely recognized Olympic sport of badminton received some unexpected attention … of the negative kind.
Preliminary tournament seeding was the name of the game, and the expected powerhouse of the tournament, China, took a loss that many did not see coming.
We've all seen the controversies that arise from situations like this. In professional sports, if a team is not going to make the postseason, it is often suggested that they perhaps take a fall to better their chances for a higher draft pick.
A similar situation took place when the doubles competition between South Korea and Malaysia took place, two teams who were in essence fighting for the unexpected opportunity to play the tournament favorite.
With neither team wanting to play China in the opening round, both teams were clearly not giving their best effort in an attempt to try and throw the game.
As a result, both South Korea and Malaysia were disqualified from the tournament and asked to leave the 2012 Olympics.
Controversy is something the world of sports is no stranger to, and this situation clearly will bring opinions as to why it was OK to do what they did and why it wasn't.
For me, I look at what these two teams did and it is sad to see that competitive spirit has been hampered by our will to win by any means necessary.
Is this cheating? Technically, no.
But, in essence, it's more like both South Korea and Malaysia were cheating themselves.
Instead of taking the challenge of upsetting the tournament favorite in the first round, they took the “safer” choice, in what I believe was a cowardly way to escape the threat of a contest.
Now, some may see the other point of view, and I certainly do understand the decision to lose on purpose from a logical standpoint.
Being a dedicated Cincinnati Bengals fan for many years, I have been one of those fans who have said a team should lose in order to better itself for the future.
But, sports is not about logic, it’s about striving to win, and attempting to take a ‘fall’ removes all that makes competitive sports, well…competitive.
Watching the footage of the game is disheartening, especially when you consider this is the biggest sports stage on the planet.
One should not try to steer around a challenge, but instead, should attempt to prove one’s worth by gracefully playing the underdog.
Once again, it is a tricky question to ask whether a team should lose to better itself, and there is probably no way to ultimately decide whether it’s right or wrong due to differing situations.
If there is one thing this has taught me it’s that I will definitely pour some consideration into my thoughts before spouting the words, “they should lose on purpose.”
Despite this one lack of sports integrity the Olympics have once again been a joy to view, and I hope that all of you are enjoying them as much as I am.
So with that said, we will let Hall of Fame Quarterback Joe Namath close this post with a quote about competitive spirit, “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?”
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.