Badminton begins its Olympic run on Thursday in Rio, and the United States men have an unlikely hero in the competition.
Howard Shu, 25, stands 6-foot-1 and will look to emerge from Group J, a bunch which includes Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto and Cuba’s Osleni Guerrero.
Sugiarto is the 8th ranked player in the world, but Shu probably won’t be too worried about his underdog status. After all, when he was younger he even had trouble finding a doubles partner.
Warning: Outstanding Mom banter coming.
Shu credits his passion for badminton to a specific incident that occurred when he was 10 years old. During his first tournament, Shu lost to a top junior. Shu’s mother approached the winner’s mother after the game and asked if the two children could compete in doubles together.
The winner’s mother declined: “Your son sucks.”
Click the link to read the funny ending to the story, as — years later — Shu claimed a national championship and met the mother’s son in the crowd.
Shu begins Friday versus Guerrero at 10:20 a.m. EDT before facing Sugiarto at 7 a.m. EDT Saturday.