so that they would be placed in favorable slots in the tournament. It seems China started it (it has been accused of the same tactics over the years) so that the final would be "China vs China". Seeing China doing it, South Korea and Indonesia followed. The audience booed and jeered, and the players were disqualified by the Badminton World Federation and thrown out of the Olympics.
Game theory at work.
From ABC News (8/1/2012; emphasis is mine):
Olympic Badminton Players Disqualified Over Match Throwing
By JEFFREY KOFMAN (@JeffreyKofman)
LONDON Aug. 1, 2012
They tried to lose to win. And now they have been thrown out of the Olympics.
It was a stunt so glaring, so obvious that the crowds jeered and the referees tried to intervene.
It began when Chinese top seeded women Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang starting serving into the net and missed easy volleys. Already guaranteed a slot in the next round, they want to let South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na finish at the top of Group A so they could avoid playing Chinese compatriots and second seeds Tian Qingand Zhao Yunlei at least until the final. If the strategy worked China could win gold and silver.
The South Koreans realized what was happening and responded by copying the antics of the Chinese pair. That prompted the referee to stop play and warn all players. But play resumed, the match ending unusually quickly with the Koreans winning.
But it did not end there.
The other South Korean pair, third seeds Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, tried to orchestrate defeat in their game against Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii. They seemed to be trying to avoid Yu and Wang in the quarter-finals.
It gets worse. The Indonesians, spotting the shenanigans, tried to play along and lose too.
The crowd was incensed. As were the TV commentators.
... It did not take long for Badminton World Federation to respond. This morning the eight players were kicked out the Olympic games, accused of "not using one's best efforts to win" and "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."
All four pairs were accused of wanting to lose in an attempt to manipulate the draw for the knockout stage.
Speaking before the verdict, Korea's coach Sung Han-kook said: "The Chinese started this. They did it first. It's a complicated thing with the draws. They didn't want to meet each other in the semi-final, they don't want that to happen…. They (BWF) should do something about that."
(Full article at the link)
Now, I have a slight anxiety over the Japan's women's soccer team. It has advanced to the quarter final with one win and 2 draws in the qualifying round, but the team's general manager is on record saying he wanted his team to draw so that the team would advance to the quarter final as the No.2 in the qualifying round, instead of No.1. The reason? He wanted his team to stay where they were (Cardiff), so that the players wouldn't get tired from traveling to a different city (Glasgow; they would have had to, had they been the No.1).
In the last qualifying match with South Africa, the Japanese team had 2nd and 3rd string players so that the top players could rest, supposedly. The general manager says he decided to shoot for a draw and told his players so in the second half of the match.
It sure seems to put the team as the same category as these disqualified Asian badminton teams...