Rio 2016 venue: Riocentro – Pavilion 4 (Barra Zone)
Competition dates: Aug. 11-20
Medal events: 5 (men’s and women’s singles and doubles; mixed doubles)
Olympic introduction: 1992 (Barcelona, Spain)

Sending its largest ever Olympic team to Rio, the U.S. Olympic Badminton Team has its sights set on making history with its first Olympic podium finish in program history.

Although badminton is a sport traditionally dominated by the other side of the world, the United States is on the rise. At the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, the U.S. badminton team tied its best gold-medal performance with three, completing a gold-medal sweep in all three doubles events and amassing six total medals.

Although the U.S. touts a well-rounded team with highly ranked athletes in each discipline, the doubles competitions are where the Americans are best positioned for success. In men’s doubles, Sattawat Pongnairat and Phillip Chew are the top-ranked team in the region, fresh off of a gold-medal performance at the Pan Am Games last summer. In women’s doubles, 2008 U.S. Olympic Team member Eva Lee and her teammate, Paula Lynn Obanana, are the top-ranked American competitors looking to find a spot on the podium. In addition to the Pan Am gold medal, the pair won seven other international medals in 2015. In mixed doubles, Chew and Jamie Subandhi will try to improve on a successful 2015 season, in which they garnered five medals – including three golds – and make a run for the Rio 2016 Games. The duo recently won the 2016 national championship.

In men’s singles, Howard Shu will lead the way for the U.S. As one of the top-ranked player in the region, Shu – who studied economics at University of California, Los Angeles – is ready to make his Olympic Games debut. On the women’s side, Iris Wang is Team USA’s top-ranked female badminton athlete eligible for the Olympic Games. Both Shu and Wang followed up strong 2015 performances with multiple medals in 2016.

Olympic badminton consists of a single-elimination tournament. Each match is played to the best of three games, with 21 points each. In singles, the top-eight players are seeded according to the world rankings. In doubles, the top-four pairs are seeded. All competitions will have a group phase followed by playoffs to reach the finals.

Athletes To Watch
Howard Shu  
Ranked No. 64 in men’s singles, Shu has taken home two bronze medals in 2016 at the Jamaica International and Giraldilla International. Of the five championship finals matches he played in 2015, he claimed titles in four and added a bronze medal at the 2016 Pan American Championships.

Iris Wang
Entering the 2016 Olympic Games ranked No. 37 in women’s singles, Wang has already won a pair of medals – bronze at the Brazil International and silver at the Peru International – in 2016. She found herself on the podium three times in 2015, winning gold at the Spanish International, silver at the Bangladesh International and bronze at the 2016 Pan American Championships.

Sattawat Pongnairat and Phillip Chew 
Ranked No. 36 in men’s doubles, Pongnairat and Chew have won two medals so far in 2016, capturing silver in Tahiti and bronze in Brazil. The pair won gold at the 2016 Pan American Championships and picked up a pair of silver medals at the Chile International and Brazil International.

Eva Lee and Paula Lynn Obanana 
Ranked No. 29 in women’s doubles, Lee and Obanana have finished on the podium three times so far in 2016, winning a pair of silver medals at the Tahiti International and Austrian International, and adding a bronze medal at the Peru International. The duo won six medals at BWF sanctioned events in 2015. 

Phillip Chew and Jamie Subandhi (No. 27 / Mixed Doubles) 
Ranked No. 27 in mixed doubles, Chew and Subandhi Chew and Subandhi will be the first mixed team to represent Team USA in badminton at the Olympic Games. The pair earned gold at the 2015 Pan American Championships and has collected eight international medals over the past two seasons, including silver at the 2016 Tahiti International and bronze at the 2016 Brazil International. The duo also won the U.S. national championship in June. In 2015, the pair took home six mixed doubles medals, including a gold medal at the 2016 Pan American Championships.


  • With stronger domestic competition, the United States will have its largest Olympic badminton team since the sport made its Olympic debut in 1992 after just three Americans qualified in 2012. The 2016 Games will also mark the first time the United States has been represented in all five badminton disciplines. Additionally, Phillip Chew and Jamie Subandhi will be the first United States mixed doubles team to compete at the Olympic Games.
  • Badminton is one of three American summer sports still seeking it first Olympic medal, and one of 12 sports still searching for its first gold. In a sport dominated by many eastern countries, the United States has been building momentum and garnering more attention on the international badminton circuit.
  • The United States put the Pan American region on notice at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, matching its best performance ever at the event with three gold medals, which tied its medal haul from 2007. The U.S. finished the 17-day event with six medals overall. Now, with seven appearances on the Pan Am Games program, the U.S. has amassed 31 all-time medals – including 10 golds, six silvers and 15 bronzes.
  • Paula Lynn Obanana received her U.S. citizenship in May 2011 after competing as a member of the Philippine national badminton team from 1997-2005. After missing the women’s doubles cut for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games by one ranking spot, she has renewed her commitment to the Olympic dream as a member of Team USA. Since teaming with Eva Lee, the pair has become the most formidable duo in the Pan American region.