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Badminton at the 2012 London Summer Games

2012 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: London, Great Britain
Date Started: July 28, 2012
Date Finished: August 5, 2012
Events: 5

Participants: 172 (86 men and 86 women) from 51 countries
Youngest Participant: THA Ratchanok Intanon (17 years, 174 days)
Oldest Participant: RSA Michelle Edwards (38 years, 18 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): CHN Zhao Yunlei (2 medals)
Most Medals (Country): CHN China (8 medals)


The badminton tournament at the 2012 Summer Olympics was held at [Wembley Arena] in London, a venue originally constructed for swimming events at the 1934 British Empire Games. It had been used for multiple events the last time London hosted the Olympic Games, in [1948], and was also the home of [rhythmic gymnastics in 2012]). Players and pairs qualified for the Games based on rankings published by the Badminton World Federation on May 3, and each continent was guaranteed at least one entrant in each event regardless of ranking. The London Games saw the introduction of a group stage of play to the badminton events, which had been introduced at the 2010 Youth Summer Olympics and replaced the instant elimination format used in previous editions.

[Zhao Yunlei] of China was perhaps the biggest star of the tournament as the only competitor to win two medals, gold in both the women's and mixed doubles. China pulled off the impressive feat of sweeping the gold medals in the five categories (men's and women's singles and men's, women's and mixed doubles) and, with an additional two silver medals and one bronze, matched their 2008 total of eight medals, albeit with two extra gold. Despite having been the overall medal winner in the Olympic badminton tournament since 2000, this feat was nonetheless outstanding in that the Chinese kept every other country to one medal or less, except for Denmark, who won silver in men's doubles and bronze in the mixed version. This achievement, however, was overshadowed by a match-fixing scandal in the women's doubles event that saw eight players, four from South Korea, two from China, and two from Indonesia, disqualified from competition for "not using one's best efforts to win a match" and "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport". The media attention given to this debacle painted a negative portrait of a sport that, in many non-Asian countries, did not usually garner that much publicity. There was also some criticism that China's dominance at the Olympics suggested that the sport was not competitive enough to be part of the program (as had been determined for baseball/softball after the 2004 Games). Such concerns were allayed by the results of the 2016 Games, which saw the medals distributed more widely.