The Ethics of Losing to Win

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In sports there are all kinds of examples of strategic losing, but not too many examples of players or coaches being punished for it. That changed this week when eight women badminton players were sent home from the London Olympics. Today, we look at whether the punishment fit the crime.


Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current

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This is The Current.

The Ethics of Losing to Win - AP International Sports Columnist

Olympic scandals typically involve athletes doing something nefarious in an overzealous bid to win. But this week, eight Olympic athletes were disqualified for nefariously not trying hard enough.

Four women's badminton teams were sent packing and their coaches are under investigation. The disqualified Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian teams are accused of trying to lose matches in the round robin part of the Olympic tournament so they could improve their chances of winning in the playoff round.
They certainly didn't win over any spectators in London. The crowds booed and jeered the players, incensed by such an obvious display of ineptitude and lacklustre play.

With badminton's reputation at stake, the Secretary General of the Badminton World Federation, Thomas Lund, addressed the situation. We aired a clip.

But John Leicester argues that maybe we should be cutting those disqualified players a bit of slack. John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press, and he joined us London, England.

The Ethics of Losing to Win - Author

We started this segment with a clip from Olympic Historian David Wallechinsky, telling one of his all-time favourite tales of Olympic cheating. That duel, by the way, ended in a draw. It shows just how intense the desire to win can be and how intense the temptation to cheat.

Our next guest has spent a long time looking into sneaky play and sneakier players. Fran Zimniuch is the author of Crooked: A History of Cheating in Sports. And he joined us from his home in Sicklerville, New Jersey.

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins, Andrea Cardillo and Sujata Berry.


Other segment from today's show:

A Shelf Life - Documentary Repeat

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