When it comes to Olympic badminton, Asia has always dominated. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Asia swept all 15 medals in the sport. Since its debut in the Barcelona Games in 1992, Asians have won 69 out of 76 events, which is a whopping 90.8 percent.
Though there have been some recent European standouts in the sport, this trend will seem to continue on to London. The Chinese currently dominate badminton with four No. 1 players out of the five events -- China's men's doubles team is ranked No. 2. It seems China is poised to dominate again this year and an all-Chinese gold roster is highly plausible.
Here is a look at some of the athletes to watch on June 28:
Lin Dan (China)
Lin Dan is considered the greatest badminton player and is the closest thing that the sport has to a celebrity. As a four-time world champion at the ripe age of 28, there is no doubt to Super Dan's skill on the badminton courts. This lefty's defeat of rival Lee Chong Wei in the Beijing Games was arguably the greatest badminton performance of all time. But coupled with his fiery on-court presence is an equally fiery one off-court. In the 2008 Korean open final, Dan allegedly punched a coach after a poor line call and almost did not participate in Beijing because of it. This bad-boy's repeat win in London will cement his place in badminton's history, and he is favored to do exactly just that.
Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)
Lee Chong Wei has always been the thorn in Lin Dan's side. Four days after his humiliating defeat in Beijing, Wei snagged the No. 1 spot from Dan. It wasn't until recently that Dan reclaimed his top seed from this silver medalist. But there has been a lot of pressure on Wei lately. Not only is Wei Malaysia's greatest hope to winning its first gold medal, but he has been dealing with a torn ankle tendon and his father's suicide attempt in June. In an interview, the typically cool Wei broke down in tears as he recounted his frustration with his injury and worry for the Olympics. Though he does not require surgery and has been receiving stem-cell therapy treatments, Wei's mental and physical fitness for London remain unclear. Can this 29-year-old shuttler stage a comeback in what is most likely his last Olympics before retirement?
Wang Yihan (China)
Wang Yihan is the current No. 1 singles champion taking the position in 2009 at the age of 21. She has never relinquished the title since. Yihan is poised to claim the gold after her coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist Zhang Ning retired in Beijing. Wang Yihan is a dramatic shuttler and has that never-say-die spirit that makes for great badminton watching. In the Uber Cup in May, she defeated South Korean Sung Ji-Hyun after surviving four match points.
Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier (Great Britain)
Though the pair had only been playing for 10 months, Adcock and Bankier have taken the badminton world by storm. This pair had unexpectedly bagged the World Championship silver medal last August after facing top-seeded Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei in the final. The left-handed Adcock and the right-handed Bankier make a tricky combo that has defeated some of the best badminton pairs including the top-seeded Nan and Yunlei. This British pair has demonstrated that they have the skill to break the Asian dominance on the sport. Though currently seeded at number ten, the home crowd influence is a major factor in Adcock and Bankier's gameplay. The World Championship was held at Wembley Arena, the same venue for this year's Games.
Bankier had this to say about this advantage: "The home crowd last time really was what lifted us that extra few percent and spurred on our performance so to know that we are going to have that all over again in the Olympics and probably a little bit more is fantastic. I think that's really going to be the difference for us."
Saina Nehwal (India)
Saina Nehwal, 22, is India's greatest medal hope in the Games this year. She recently won the Thailand Open and the Indonesia Open Super Series against world No. 3 Xuerui Li. It is rumored that it is Nehwal's formidable presence on the badminton court that has forced the Chinese to change their women's single lineup at the last minute -- they had replaced gold medalist Wang Shixian with Xuerui Li. Nehwal is currently ranked No. 5 after four Chinese players: Wang Yihan, Wang Xin, Li Xuerui and Wang Shixian. If this lone Indian shuttler breaks through the "Great Wall of China," it would be one of the best Olympic underdog stories yet.
More from Kathrine:
Kathrine plays recreational badminton and has even managed a team. She grew up watching the Olympics and has since been an avid viewer. She is excited about the badminton matches this year and is hoping that Lee Chong Wei can stage a dramatic comeback. She is a sucker for Olympic underdog stories.