Badminton Life

Eva Lee to Fly American Flag at Olympics

Eva Lee will be hoping to break the United States' barren Olympic run when she competes in three events at the Beijing Games in August.

Lee is part of a five-strong American badminton squad for the Olympics and will be taking part in women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.

The Americans have never won an Olympic medal since the sport was introduced to the Games in Barcelona in 1992. Although she knows she has a tough job making history, she is ready for the challenge.

One thing for sure, she will be physically fit for the tournament as she goes through a tough programme in the run-up to the Games.

"We do long-distance running, sprints, weight training - light weights and heavy weights," she told local media in Washington. "And then we also have to do agility, and then sometimes we do cross-training, like playing soccer with our teammates or basketball and all sorts of things."

Lee took up badminton when she was five years old because her parents wanted her to stay out of trouble. Well, the ploy worked because Lee became so good at the sport that she is now representing her country.

And the Olympics is one of the greatest stages on which to wear national colours. But the training and matches are hard on her, and she expects it to be even tougher when she competes in Beijing against the world's best players.

"There was once when I came off a mixed doubles match, and it lasted about an hour," she said. "And after I came off the match, both my legs just collapsed, I could not stand any more."

With three events, she will have to be at the top of her game in terms of endurance. Among the players she can expect to meet is world Xie Xingfang, of China, who defeated Lee at the recent Uber Cup in Indonesia as the Chinese swept the Americans 5-0.

The United States also lost to Hong Kong 3-0 but Lee is not letting those defeats get her down. She is hoping that playing at home will actually be a problem for the Chinese players rather than an advantage.

"Actually I do not think they will have any advantage," she said. "If anything, they will be at a disadvantage because the Chinese badminton fans have very high hopes for their players. And so I think there is a lot of pressure on their players."

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