Bye Bye Birdy-Smackers
Four women's badminton teams were disqualified after it was determined they had deliberately thrown preliminary matches in an attempt to gain a better seeding in tournament play. Unsurprisingly, deliberately losing is seen as going against the values of the Olympics.
Indeed, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't think throwing a game of any kind is dishonourable behavior.
So why is it that sometime around late spring, every year, I hear so many people calling on athletes in North America to do exactly that?
When hockey fans have thrown in the towel on their beloved team for the season, many can't understand why the squad continues to put in an effort when tanking would give them a better shot at a top draft pick.
We're not talking about putting less experienced players into the game to give them a shot at top-tier hockey. No, these "fans" want their team to lose on purpose, by providing less than an honest effort.
There have, and likely always will be, shades of grey when it comes to fortunate advantage in sports. A linesman in tennis makes a bad call that works to one player's edge. A ground rule double in baseball that would have been at least a triple had a fan not interfered with the ball works to the favour of the team in field. And a badminton team that didn't win a single game in the preliminary round advances to the medal round because four teams were deemed to be cheating.
If Canadians Alex Bruce and Michele Li win a medal in London, it is still earned, but somewhat tainted. After all, how can a real fan of any sport be joyful of a medal, championship or cup when the prize would likely not have been earned without a blatantly dishonest action?
Agree that it’s right for the cheaters at the Olympics to be disqualified? Well, just remember that next spring if your team’s run for the post-season falls short.