Originally published in "World Online Gambling Law Report" in September 2012.
185 British Olympic and Paralympic medals (63 of them gold), the most British Olympic medals since 1908, the first ever British Tour de France winner, the first British men's singles Grand Slam winner for 76 years, the first British men's singles Wimbledon finalist for 74 years, a British1 US PGA Champion and two British world number ones this summer in golf, and (at different times) the world's number one ranked cricket team in all formats. The summer of 2012 has been arguably the most successful ever in the history of British sport. However, prior to the start of this memorable sporting summer, it was feared by many - IOC President Jacques Rogge included - that matchfixing could become one of those enduring memories.
Arguably, the sports integrity issue which grabbed the most headlines was the eight badminton players from South Korea, China and Indonesia who were disqualified from the Olympics for deliberately trying to lose - not because they had been tempted or intimidated into doing so by the betting underworld, but because they apparently believed they could get a better draw in the knockout stage by underperforming in the round-robin stage. Similarly, according to press reports, it wasn't a fraudulent betting related reason behind the Japanese women's Olympic football team playing for a draw rather than a win in their game against South Africa; rather a desire to avoid having to travel to Glasgow for their quarter final match.
In fact, no betting-related integrity issue appears to have made its way into the public domain in respect of the Olympics or Paralympics. Perhaps this is a reflection of the fact that the Olympic and Paralympic events are the pinnacle of any athlete's career, so the temptation to underperform for money should be easier to resist. It also seems logical that corrupters are more likely to spend their time and money grooming competitors in events which attract large volumes of bets on the unregulated markets all year round, rather than only once every four years.
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