Such is the domination of badminton by the Asian nations that Denmark is the only country from outside that part of the world to have won an Olympic gold medal.
Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen was the Danish hero in the Atlanta men's singles in 1996. Among his opponents were reigning Olympic champion Alan Budikusuma and 1995 world champion Hariyanto Arbi — both from Indonesia — but the Dane won the gold without dropping a game. Some reports suggested that a key factor in Høyer Larsen's success was his insistence on wearing his lucky shoes, described as anywhere between seven and 12 years old, and falling apart.
The Atlanta Games were also significant in that they delivered a first badminton gold for China, who would progress to claim four out of five golds at Sydney four years later and three out of five in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008. However, only Indonesia have collected a badminton gold at every Games since the sport joined the list of medal events in 1992.
Mixed doubles was added to the schedule in 1996 and will again be contested in London. The format for all the events will be for a group stage to produce the top players for a knockout competition — the best 16 for the singles and the leading eight pairs in the doubles.
Matches will be played over the best-of-three games. The winner of a game is the first player to reach 21 points with a margin of two points, but at 29-29 the next point wins.
Another interesting fact about badminton is that the net is not the same height all the way along. It measures 5ft 1in at the ends and 5ft in the centre.