While the Olympics provide ample opportunity to celebrate new talent, the Games also give us a chance to reflect on past glories. We lionize the triumphs of U.S. track legends Jesse Owens and Michael Johnson, and the feats of contemporary record-breakers like Michael Phelps. But one Olympic performance stands above all else: broadcaster Mary Carillo's hilarious rant about badminton during the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
If you've never seen this nearly four-minute clip of the former tennis player warning viewers about the dangers of shuttlecocks getting lost in trees, you need to watch it right now. It's worth it just to hear her say "goose feathers" and "badminton is a water sport," but it also works as a surreal comedy routine. It's gone viral before; it will go viral again.
Back in 2014, Deadspin posted the segment and got a response from Carillo herself, who provided some context. "I was hosting a morning show in Athens that covered a lot of badminton -- some table tennis too, but badminton, I'd been assured, was going to be 'the curling of the Summer Games,'" she wrote. "There was no script for that rant -- just a little dead time -- but it got some chuckles and a head shake from my producer."
It turns out Carillo got the last laugh: she's an internet Olympic folk hero now. As long as there are Olympics on TV, people will share this video, and remember that, yes, badminton is a water sport and Mary Carillo is an American hero.
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