A couple days back I mused on Twitter:
Amazed that badminton is an Olympic sport. 09:07 AM August 11, 2008 from web
Got a couple of replies expressing similar wonderment:
jewellsinsea: @donnunn That amazes me too but what is even more amazing is that they will go through 1000 dozen shuttlecocks during the games. 09:09 AM August 11, 2008 from web
heidihoover: @donnunn Me too. How do you get the idea: “Hey, I bet I could go to the Olympics and play badminton!”? 11:13 AM August 11, 2008
Then I actually saw badminton played in the Olympics.
Let me tell you: I have never seen a shuttlecock emit a smoke trail, but that’s what happens when the thing is sent blitzing at your face at roughly 45,000 mph on that little court.
These things become MISSILES off the rackets of the players. The singles play is amazing enough, in its way, but the doubles play is just ASTOUNDING. This chaotic-looking dance of insanity and somewhere in there a point is scored, only you need the four replays to see just WTF happened there?
I bow down before the players and referees of these matches. They have superhuman vision and light-speed decision-making skills to keep track of these things, and if I ever met an Olympian badminton player in a dark alley, I’d run screaming from the light WHOOSH of the approaching birdie.