One of the first games kicking off the 2012 Olympics will be Badminton, according to london2012.com, the official Olympic games website. A total of 172 athletes will compete on the court, in both singles and doubles matches.
Athletes play by hitting shuttlecocks back and forth across the court at speeds of 365 feet per second or more, according to london2012.com. Official shuttlecocks feature 16 feathers plucked from the left wing of a goose.
Olympic badminton matches are played over the best out of three games, the player to reach 21 points, while still being ahead of their opponent by two or more points wins a game. The game can go all the way to 29 points if the margin of two or more points doesn’t exist. If a game is tied at 29-29, then the next player to score wins the game.
Though the game was invented in 19th Century England, the rules of the game weren’t standardized for competitions until 1936 by the United States, according to the website officialbadminton.com.
The game made its Olympic debut in 1922 at the Barcelona games, according to london2012.com. Since, China, Indonesia and South Korea have dominated the sport; winning 23 out of the 24 gold medals awarded since its first appearance. This year there will be five victory ceremonies, with a total of 15 medals awarded.