The Olympics is a good time to realize that there are some great sports out there that we in the US never get to see played at a high level.
One of them is the reputed fastest sport in the world: Badminton.
Yes, the game that is viewed in the US as a children’s summer picnic pastime but is taken seriously in many parts of the world (especially Asia) turns out to be the fastest. Of course, how one determines what is fastest can be disputed. The claim here is based on the fact that the shuttlecock has been measured as traveling as fast as 206 mph at the point of being hit, easily beating baseballs, cricket balls, hockey pucks, golf balls, and the like. Of course, the feathers on the shuttle slow it down but this variance in speed is part of the challenge of the game, as I can attest to first hand since I played it quite a lot in Sri Lanka.
When you see world champions play the game, you quickly realize how fast it is, requiring lightning-quick reflexes. Here is a point from the 2012 Olympics badminton final that may have been the final one that clinched the game for the defending gold medalist Lin Dan of China against Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
And here is an incredible rally from a doubles game from the 2010 world championships that shows the rapid reflexes and teamwork required. How the players avoid crashing into each other beats me.