Badminton in the Olympics

By: Manuel Gallegus
By: Manuel Gallegus

It's got the moves, the speed, and believe it or not a worldwide audience.

Duo Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong are the first Americans to advance in the sport's doubles finals. They're ambassadors desperately trying to put the "bad" in badminton.

"You can joke around that it's a sissy sport until it hits you at 200 miles per hour, then you better wear goggles."

That ballistic birdie is made from 16 overlapping feathers from only the left wing of a goose. The sport takes agility, precision and stamina, with players running an average of two miles per match; still, Americans think backyard and beer.

"We usually have a Sunday barbecue back home and that's what we do badminton and horseshoes."

"But through Asia badminton is serious stuff, the events here were among the first to sell out. The World's top ranked players are Chinese and they're a couple, so popular, they're the Brangelina of Chinese sports, and the top American players are all from Asian immigrant families.

It's been a long journey for Bob Malaythong from Laos to representing the U.S. in the Olympics. It's definitely a dream come true.

While Americans don't know much about birdies, they do have a taste for gold, and a surprise win could earn these Olympians a little recognition.


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