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  1. #1
    Regular Member demolidor's Avatar
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    Post CNN SI's Olympic badminton preview

    Story Highlights
    • With No. 1-ranked players in four of five events, China looks like country to beat
    • China's Lin Dan, badminton's bad boy, is a clear favorite to repeat as gold medalist
    • U.S. has never won a medal in badminton and only has outside shot at medaling
    Badminton belongs to Asia. Its countries won all 15 available medals in Beijing; China led the way with eight, including three golds. Asia has claimed 90.8 percent of all badminton medals (69 of 76) since the sport debuted at the Barcelona Games in 1992, and that trend is likely to continue in London. A Chinese sweep of golds at Wembley Arena is well within the realm of possibility, as the country boasts the No. 1-ranked players in four of five events -- men's singles, women's singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. (China's best men's doubles team is ranked No. 2.)


    Athletes To Watch

    Lin Dan, China: "Super Dan," the gold medalist in men's singles in Beijing and the 2011 world champ, is the closest thing badminton has to a celebrity. (In China, where badminton is the fourth-most popular sport, he's a full-fledged celebrity, but the rest of the world has been slower to catch on.) Lin is a left-hander with a fiery on-court presence, a bad-boy rep (he allegedly punched his coach at a 2008 event) and status as the sport's greatest player. He's also a clear favorite to win a repeat gold in London.
    Lee Chong Wei, Malaysia: The silver-medalist behind Lin in Beijing -- and world No. 1 in singles until Lin overtook him last month -- was considered to be his country's best shot at winning its first-ever gold. But a torn ankle tendon suffered at the Thomas Cup in May has put Chong Wei's fitness level for London into question, and he has also been coping with a family crisis after his father attempted to commit suicide in June. Chong Wei has been receiving stem cell treatments for his ankle, but it's still unclear whether he'll be able to compete in top form in what's likely to be his final Olympic opportunity before retirement.
    Wang Yihan, China: The reigning women's singles world champ is poised to take over where her coach, retired two-time Olympic gold medalist Zhang Ning, left off in Beijing. Wang was never able to defeat Zhang in a major competition, but she took over the world No. 1 ranking at the age of 21 in 2009 and has not relinquished it. Wang has a penchant for letting matches reach the brink of defeat before pulling off dramatic rescues; she somehow survived four match points before winning her latest title, in May's Uber Cup.


    U.S. Prospects

    The U.S. has yet to medal in badminton; in Beijing, the doubles team of Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong became the first Americans to even reach a quarterfinal. (The Bach-Malaythong combo remains more famous for appearing in a VitaminWater badminton ad that had them getting crushed by Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.) While Bach is back, his new partner following Malaythong's retirement is the most intriguing U.S. shuttler: 37-year-old Tony Gunawan, who won a gold medal in doubles for Indonesia in 2000, moved to the U.S. in 2002, won a world doubles title with Bach in 2005, but didn't gain the citizenship required to represent the U.S. in the Olympics until 2011. The Bach-Gunawan duo is ranked 25th in the world but could have an outside shot at medaling.
    Gunawan has also helped coach the lone American female representative, 20-year-old Rena Wang, who put an undergraduate degree at UCLA on hold to focus on qualifying for the Games. She has played in at least 25 tournaments since May 2011, reaching a world No. 63 ranking, which was good enough to make her the top American but makes a podium appearance highly unlikely.


    Matchup to Watch

    Can Europe break the Asian stranglehold on medals? The two most realistic hopes for medalists from outside Asia are both from the Euro-badminton hotbed of Denmark: men's singles shuttler Peter Hoeg Gade (the world No. 5) and the men's doubles team of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen (the world No. 3). Gade's chances improve significantly if Chong Wei isn't fit to contend.


    Underdog Story

    India has few prominent female athletes, but 22-year-old Sania Nehwal is an emerging singles star whose popularity would explode if she reaches the podium. She made a run to the quarterfinals in Beijing when she was 18, and is ranked fifth in the world behind four Chinese women: Wang Yihan, Wang Xin, Li Xuerui and Wang Shixian.


    Fun Fact

    In May 2011, the Badminton World Federation attempted to implement a rule that forced women playing in elite competition to wear skirts or dresses, in hopes of sexing up a sport with a limited fanbase. There was so much backlash to the rule, which was widely criticized as sexist and offensive, that it was scrapped before it took effect. Women competing in London can still wear skirts by choice, but many will opt for shorts or pants instead.


    Gold Medal Dates

    Aug. 3: Mixed Doubles
    Aug. 4: Women's Singles, Women's Doubles
    Aug. 5: Men's Singles, Men's Doubles


    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz20MhTuUGO

  2. #2
    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    not a bad writeup. but failed to mention MD/WD/XD. must be written by a tennis writer.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by demolidor View Post
    Wang Yihan, China:...Wang was never able to defeat Zhang in a major competition
    World Cup 2006 not a major competition, eh? Even with the likes of Zhang Ning, Jiang Yanjiao, Yip Pui Yin, Yao Jie, Wang Yihan, Petya Nedeltcheva, Xie Xingfang, Wang Lin, and Wong Mew Choo in a field of only twelve?

    It would have made a better story to say that Wang did beat her coach immediately prior to the changing of the guard. However, 6 years on, I wouldn't be surprised if Badminton Central were the only place that still has the results of that event and you'd only find them if you knew where to look, as Sports Illustrated clearly does not.

  4. #4
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    I think Boe/Mogensen is the only hope for Europeans to win a medal - bronze.

  5. #5
    Regular Member drquick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by event View Post
    World Cup 2006 not a major competition, eh? Even with the likes of Zhang Ning, Jiang Yanjiao, Yip Pui Yin, Yao Jie, Wang Yihan, Petya Nedeltcheva, Xie Xingfang, Wang Lin, and Wong Mew Choo in a field of only twelve?

    It would have made a better story to say that Wang did beat her coach immediately prior to the changing of the guard. However, 6 years on, I wouldn't be surprised if Badminton Central were the only place that still has the results of that event and you'd only find them if you knew where to look, as Sports Illustrated clearly does not.
    I know one who would gladly agree with the writter to exclude the winning by Susi over HAP

  6. #6
    Regular Member craigandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qidong View Post
    I think Boe/Mogensen is the only hope for Europeans to win a medal - bronze.
    Christinna Pedersen in either WD or MX could medal also Julianne Schenk, I agree though no gold for Europe.

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    The Danish ladies won their first major event earlier in the year, and you can't forget Pedersen's run of form last year. If they're in form, they're certainly capable, so you might have to wait before placing your bets.

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    I don't think CP can bring home a medal in WD but there is a realistic possibility in XD with JF. Schenk has good a chance as any of the 2nd tier players (Siana, SJH, Rat, TTY, CSC) to contend for a medal.

  9. #9
    Regular Member ctjcad's Avatar
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    this is not anything related to CNN SI's preview but just makes you go "hmmmm"..noticed the typo for her age..

    http://sports.yahoo.com/photos/olymp...342476213.html


    China's 19-year-old Wang Xin returns the shuttlecock to South Korea's Sung Ji-hyun during women's singles quarter finals at Djarum Indonesia Open badminton tournament at Istora stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, June 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

  10. #10
    Regular Member craigandy's Avatar
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    Ha ha yeah they got mixed up with the diver Wang Xin.

  11. #11
    Regular Member ctjcad's Avatar
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    Not from CNN SI, but another video with quite a nice preview of the baddy event :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYMn7QW3Mug


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctjcad View Post
    Not from CNN SI, but another video with quite a nice preview of the baddy event :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYMn7QW3Mug


    I believe that video is wrong? LXR is in and not WSX?

  13. #13
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    Looks like the video was produced ahead of the final announcement by LYB.

  14. #14
    Regular Member suetyan's Avatar
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    omg, they called LD the bad boy? lol

  15. #15
    Regular Member ctjcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suetyan View Post
    omg, they called LD the bad boy? lol
    ..that term used to be exclusively designated for Taufik..

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