Badminton is played by hitting a shuttlecock (birdie) back and forth over a net with racquet – and is the fastest of the racquet sports. The fastest serve was clocked at a whopping 408 km/hour.
(Generally, men hit the birdies around 390km/hour.)
The birdie – a cone made from 16 overlapping feathers into a round cork base – is made with feathers from the left wing of a goose.
The Games will make use of about 8,400 shuttlecocks across 5 events: singles and doubles for both men and women, and mixed doubles
2016 marks the seventh summer Olympics in a row since 1992 that it’s been played competitively. Forty-six nations are sending 171 Badminton competitors. China and South Korea are sending the most players – 14 each.
China dominates the sport: the country has medaled 38 times, including 16 Gold. That’s more than double the next closest: South Korea has medaled 18 times with 6 golds.
Badminton is one of the 5 summer Olympic sports the U.S. has never medaled in.