Who digs shuttlecock? Because today's Hot Bay Area Olympian is a player. Yes, it's a real olympic sport, played with full shuttlecock-pounding power, and the Chinese tend to dominate. Howard there, along with his partner Bob Malaythong, defeated the villainous-sounding South African duo of Roelof and Chris Dednam today, and will advance to the semi-finals on Wednesday.

A Vietnam native, Howard arrived in our fair City at the age of two and took up badminton as a wee five-year-old. Training on the rough trade hardfloors of the old Tenderloin YMCA, he would eventually become the first American to win a World Championship. He then went on to star as "Yang" in the badminton-themed VitaminWater commercial with Brian Urlacher and David Ortiz. Unusual that VitaminWater actually got the two top American badminton players to appear in their commercial, but then gave them fictional, stock Asian names and inaccurate country affiliations. That's pretty Abercrombie & Fitch, VitaminWater.

Image: Joits/Flickr