Olympics_history_Badminton - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA


Badminton has been around for centuries, but it is a fairly new Olympic sport. The 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain introduced badminton as an Olympic event. The best badminton player to ever represent his country (so far) is Gao Ling of China. He played in 2000 and again in 2004 and took home 4 gold medals.

Badminton finds players volleying a birdie, officially called a shuttlecock, over a net with a lighter version of a tennis racket. Success at a competitive level requires excellent hand-eye coordination, top physical fitness and a good deal of skill. It is thought to have its origins in ancient Greece and Egypt, but it had a different name…Battledore and Shuttlecock, and it was seen as more of a children's game.   

In 18th century India, the popular game was called "Poona," and British Army officers stationed in India enjoyed it so much that they took it home with them to England. In 1873 it was introduced at a lawn party given at the estate of the Duke of Beaufort. What was the name of the Duke's Estate in Gloucestershire? Badminton, of course…and that is how the popular game received its name.

The official record of speed set in a men's doubles competition is 206 miles per hour. The record for a singles competition is 305 miles per hour. Neither is an Olympic record. Weighing between 17 and 19 ounces, the competition shuttlecock is made from cork covered in goatskin. It is sometimes called a bird or birdie because of the 16 goose feathers that are attached to one of the ends. The best shuttlecocks use goose feathers plucked only from the left wing of the goose. It is important to note however, that the geese are not harmed in the making of the shuttlecocks.

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