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There's one simple reason badminton is unequivocally the best Olympic sport to watch

There's one simple reason badminton is unequivocally the best Olympic sport to watch

I have a take. And it's not hot. Actually, it's not even a take, it's a fact. And that fact is that badminton is the best sport at the Olympic games.

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My colleagues Luke Kerr-Dineen and Nate Scott have tried to brainwash you into thinking that equestrian and rugby sevens are the best, but they are very wrong and I am very right.

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Trust me, because I know about badminton. When I wasn't watching the U.S. women's soccer team lose to the Ikea-demons (aka Sweden) I have spent today transfixed by the badminton livestream. The speed with which these players move is truly staggering, and the fast-pace kept my attention which, in the age of multiple screens at multiple times, is no easy feat. I can't even make it through a full episode of Friends anymore without checking my phone. I am a true millennial disgrace.

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But I digress. What matters more than my embarrassing attention span is that have extensive experience playing badminton in my grandmother's backyard with my cousins using the broken rackets that spent most of the year acting as homes for families of spiders in my grandparents' garage. So between the amount I've watched today and the amount I played as a child, I am basically a badminton expert.

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Which puts me in the unique position of being able to tell you all exactly why badminton is the G.O.A.T., the Simone Biles, the Michael Phelps of Olympic sports. Which is that, as you watch it, you might think to yourself, "Hey, maybe I could actually do that."

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This never happens when you watch the Olympics during primetime. If you, as someone who is not on an elite swim team, are delusional enough to think you could hop in a pool and give Katie Ledecky a swim for her money, then you're out of your gourd. If you aren't a gymnast, thinking you could even walk on a balance beam, let alone flip over on one, would be like a blogger saying to a pilot, "No, no, trust me, I can fly this thing."

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Badminton, however, is a sport where you can trick yourself into thinking that maybe, if you really put your mind to it, you could be a contender. You can't, of course. These athletes have trained for years, have dedicated their lives to this, have fast-twitch muscles that are faster than those of a cat chasing a laser beam that you've aimed at the floor to drive it crazy. There's no way you could do what they're doing because they are elite and you are not.

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But, given the backyard memories (that Mary Carillo so brilliantly espoused on her incredible 2004 broadcast from Athens) that are so often attached to the game, there's that voice in the back of your head whispering, "it could still be you." Even as you watch these professionals make impossible shots that in no world could you ever return, you allow yourself to dream.

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And what are sports for, if not to inspire us to chase our delusional hopes and live our best lives and never give up and always take 100% of the shots? Nothing. So if inspiration is the metric by which we're judging "best" (and I have decided that it is), badminton is the ultimate. Thus it is proven.

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