Badminton is the world’s fastest racket sport. The flight of the shuttlecock, a simple missile of cork and goose feather, has been recorded at speeds of 260 kilometres per hour. Players have been known to cover more than six kilometres in a single match.
There are five different badminton events at the Olympic Games: Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles, and Mixed Doubles.
Badminton is played between two or four athletes. All events began with a preliminary stage: the competitors are divided into groups and each player and doubles pair play everyone else in their group. The best players and doubles pairs from this stage (16 in each singles event, eight pairs in each doubles event) qualify for the knockout stage of the competition, which eventually decide the winners of the medals.
To score a point, badminton players hit the shuttlecock with their rackets in an attempt to make the shuttlecock land on their opponent’s court. Games are played to 21 points. The player or team that wins the best of three games takes the match.
A coin is tossed before the first game to determine who will serve first. A point is scored on every rally, with the winner of the rally serving to start the next rally.