The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich saw the first appearance of badminton, as a demonstration sport. Two decades later the sport debuted in competition at the Barcelona1992 games where 4 events were held, with singles and doubles events for both men and women. Four medals were awarded in each event, including two bronzes. The next Olympics, Atlanta1996, had 5 events with the addition of mixed doubles. There was also now a playoff between the two semifinal losers to determine the sole winner of the bronze medal. This format has continued to 2016.
The Badminton World Federation's ranking list is used to determine qualification for the Olympic tournament. For singles, 29 competitors are selected. For doubles, 19 pairs are selected.
The general method of selection is by ranking, though the selection process stops once all qualification positions are filled. All players or pairs from the top 16 places on that list qualify, though each National Olympic Committee can send a maximum of three players/pairs. Players and pairs through the 64th place on that ranking qualify, with the caveat that each NOC can send only two players/pairs from that portion of the list. Players and pairs ranked below that only qualify if they are the highest ranked competitor from their nation.
In addition, one place in each of the singles events is awarded by the Tripartite Commission. There are also regulations on minimum representation. Each continent must have at least one player/pair. This is the highest ranked player/pair from that continent if none have qualified through the standard selection process. The host nation, if it has not already qualified two competitors, receives two slots as well, either two singles players or one pair.
Olympic badminton consists of a single-elimination tournament. Each match is played to the best of three games. Games are to 21 points. Rally scoring is used, meaning a player does not need to be serving to score. A player must win by two points or be the first player to 30 points.