Badminton made its debut at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona after being a demonstration sport at the 1972 Games in Munich. However, it excluded the mixed doubles category. It was in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games that mixed doubles was finally added to the format.
Since 1992, badminton has featured in 7 Olympic Games, and 69 different countries have participated in the sport. Asia has dominated the sport with a staggering 69 out of the 76 medals between 1992 and 2008 going to nations from the continent.
Let us have a look at the top 5 countries that have won Olympic medals in badminton.
#1 China - 41 medals
Thanks to its deep pool of talent, China has dominated the badminton circuit for a long time. Notably, the country has won 18 gold medals at the Olympics — the highest number by any nation.
Overall, the country has won 41 Olympic medals, which include 18 gold, 8 silver, and 15 bronze medals. The greatest ever conquest by China was at the 2012 London Games, where it won all five titles.
#2 Indonesia - 19 medals
Badminton is the national sport of Indonesia. The country has won 19 Olympic medals, consisting of 7 gold, 6 silver, and 6 bronze. Interestingly, the first player to win an Olympic medal was Susi Susanti from Indonesia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. This was the country's first-ever Olympic gold.
Eventually, it followed with another gold in the men's singles category where Alan Budikusuma beat Ardy Wiranata to clinch the medal.
#3 South Korea - 19 medals
The Republic of Korea has been active on the doubles front when it comes to Olympic medals. Moreover, the first-ever mixed doubles Olympic gold was clinched by the South Korean pair of Kim Dong-moon and Gil Young-ah in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Comprehensively, South Korea has a similar medal tally as Indonesia, which is 19, but they have a lesser gold medal count. Overall, the country has won 6 gold, 7 silver, and 6 bronze medals.
#4 Denmark - 8 medals
Denmark is the sole non-Asian country that has dominated the sport in the Olympic circuit over the past few decades. Denmark has won 8 Olympic medals including 1 gold, 3 silver, and 4 bronze.
Poul Erik Hoyer-Larsen created history for Denmark by winning the first Olympic gold for the country in the men's singles category. He won it at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Since then, however, the country has not won another gold in badminton at the mega-quadrennial games.
#5 Japan - 3 medals
Japan has changed the power balance in badminton over the years in the BWF circuit. However, the country has been able to win only a total of 3 Olympic medals to date, including 1 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze.
The country earned its first Olympic gold in Rio 2016 when Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo secured a spectacular win in women's doubles.
The balance in badminton supremacy has changed over the years with countries like Chinese Taipei, India, Thailand, and many more emerging. Moreover, with the retirement of many senior players like Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei, Ayaka Takahashi, and a few more, the Tokyo Olympics may observe many young and different players in action.