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Poll: Is it Okay to Cheat to Win?

Several badminton players were expelled from the Olympics this week after officials decided they were deliberately playing poorly as a strategy to advance. But is losing to win all that uncommon?

 

It was the first big burp for the London Olympics.

Eight badminton players were disqualified from competition for playing poorly during early matches, allegedly in an effort to improve their ultimate medal chances in the quarterfinals lineup.

Officials believed the top-seeded pair from China, two pairs from South Korea, and one from Indonesia hoped to move into the next round of competition against lesser opponents by losing their first match.

The Chinese badminton coach, Li Yongbo, acknowledged the lack of effort. Said Li: "It's me to blame."

"We didn't take each competition seriously and follow the Olympic spirit of 'higher, faster and stronger' as professional athletes," said Li on Chinese television.

One of the disqualified athletes went further. Chinese player Wang Xiaoli, part of a world champion team and an Olympic gold-medal favorite, said "I will prove myself in future games. I pledge to play to my full strength, in each competition, to build a new image of us among the audience in the future."

The gray area in sport of giving less than a 100 percent effort in competition as a strategy move has long been questioned in American athletics.

In the National Basketball Association, seven teams finishing at the bottom of the end-of-year standings are given the opportunity to participate in a lottery, giving them preferential access to the best college players ready to enter the professional league. If a team is near the end of its season, and hovering between seventh worst and eighth worst, does that team play with less than its best effort, knowing if they are eighth, there is no possibility of a lottery pick?

In Major League Baseball, if a team near the end of the season can alter its playoff matchup - the team it will face, or not face - by playing with less than its best effort in its last few games, should that team be allowed to do so?

Beyond the ethical questions, what's to be said for the fans that continue to support these teams? Is it fair to fans, and families, that pay for expensive tickets and expensive concession stand items at games late in the season, only to see the team they support deliberately play a poor game?

What do you think? Is cheating okay as a strategy move? Should we even call it cheating? Or should athletes and coaches approach every game, every match, with the sole intent to win, and let the chips fall where they may around them.

Tell us in your comments. Then vote in the poll below.

Frank Geefay August 05, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I think that regardless of whether Olympic rules are flawed or not everyone must abide by them or the rules should be changed. If athletes were to be able to ignore Olympic rules then there would be chaos and probably no Olympics. It is essential that the Olympics have rules but equally important that rules be fair and equally applied.
Frank Mockery August 05, 2012 at 06:20 PM
"Win if you can,lose if you must,but always cheat" !!! - Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
Frank Geefay August 05, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Like 'rules are made to be broken'? - Also meant as a mockery
Frank Geefay August 05, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I really meant to say "Tongue-in-cheek" instead of "Also meant as a mockery"
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz August 05, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Cheating will always make one feel that they were not good enough. And rightfully so if you don't make time to train.

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