By Peter Rutherford
LONDON (Reuters) - Like most couples, South Korean badminton duo Lee Yong-dae and Chung Jae-sung had their ups and downs over the course of their seven years together, but winning a bronze medal at the London Olympics on Sunday was a fitting end to their partnership.
In what Chung said is his last Games, the stocky 29-year-old partnered the lithe Lee to a 23-21 21-10 win over Malaysia duo Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, making up for their surprise first round flop in Beijing four years ago.
Their relationship was stormy at times and was pushed to the brink in London during their semi-final loss to Danish pair Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogenson on Saturday.
"I am not sure our relationship could have withstood another loss," said the 23-year-old Lee. "After we lost our last match our relationship could not get any worse, but it got better and I am so happy to be here today with Chung Jae-sung."
Lee, who won gold in Beijing in the mixed doubles, said it was sometimes difficult having a partner six years older than him. But he added that Chung had let him be his own man.
"After the first Olympics I complained a lot. I was junior to him, so I couldn't say anything when I was playing with him. I couldn't speak a word for the first four years. That was the only frustrating thing.
"But even though I was six years his junior and I wanted to practice the way I wanted, he never forced me to do anything.
"I haven't thought about my next partner yet. What I'd like to do is get some rest."
Chung said his only regret was that he did not do well enough in major competitions such as world championships and the Olympics, but that he was happy to go out with a bronze medal.
"As Lee said, we did not always have good times. We had a lot of difficult times as well. But I believe what is most important in teamwork is trust.
"It's not always about how good a player you are, it's about how you trust each other."
(Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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