Badminton 101: History
Barcelona, 1992: Though badminton made its debut at the 1972 Olympics as a demonstration sport, it wasn't an official Olympic sport until two decades later in Barcelona. Players competed in men's singles, men's doubles, women's singles and women's doubles.
Indonesia was the big winner in Barcelona, taking home four of 16 medals, including gold in men's singles and women's singles, as well as two silver medals and a bronze; in this tournament, two bronze medals were distributed in each of the four categories, as no bronze medal matches were held to determine third and fourth place. Because of this, China had the highest medal haul, with four bronzes and one silver.
While no mixed doubles competition was held at Barceolona, Indonesia's singles gold medalists Alan Budikusuma and Susi Susanti became a mixed doubles pair of a different sort: they eventually married one another.
Atlanta, 1996: Mixed doubles and bronze medal matches were introduced at the 1996 Olympics.
Though South Korea, Indonesia and China all earned four medals each, it was South Korea that ended up on top: Bang Soo-hyun won gold in the women's singles tournament, while Kim Dong-Moon and Gil Young-Ah won gold in the mixed doubles competition.
Sydney, 2000: For the first time, China demonstrated its Olympic badminton dominance at the Sydney Games, winning eight of the 15 given medals. The Asian powerhouse took home gold in men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles; additionally, China won gold, silver and bronze in women's doubles. China's Gao Ling left Australia with a gold medal in mixed doubles and a bronze in mixed.
Badminton great Tony Gunawan won gold alongside Indonesia's Candra Wijaya in men's doubles. Gunawan would later represent the United States in men's doubles at the London Games.
Athens, 2004: China continued to perform well in badminton at the 2004 Games, winning five medals total and three golds. Zhang Nin won the top prize in women's singles for the first time; Gao Ling - who had previously won a gold and a bronze in Sydney - repeated her two-pronged victory with another gold in mixed doubles and a silver in women's doubles.
South Korea won four medals at the Athens Games, while Indonesia won three.
Beijing, 2008: Appropriately, China won big with eight total medals when the country's second-largest city hosted the Games: three gold, two silver and three bronze. Lin "Super" Dan earned the top spot over Malaysian rival Lee Chong Wei in their first Olympic final match-up, while Zhang Nin took home her second gold in women's singles.
London, 2012: Unfortunately, badminton at the 2012 Games was marred by controversy: Women's doubles teams from China, South Korea and Indonesia were disqualified for blatantly throwing matches in order to manipulate the round robin draw. Regardless, China once again ended up in the top spot, winning gold in each of the five major categories.
For the second time, badminton legends Lin "Super" Dan and Lee Chong Wei met in a dramatic men's singles final. Despite early signs that Lee could overcome his rival, Lin ultimately won after a tense 19-19 score in the third game.