In basketball, there is Michael Jordan. In swimming, there is Michael Phelps. In football, there is Lionel Messi. In badminton, there is Lin Dan.
In any sport there should be a discussion of who is the “GOAT” or also known as “Greatest of All-Time”. We mostly heard that term in basketball – a debate that lingers in the sports for almost four decades now. This discussion is centered on the accolades or individual accomplishments of an athlete. In the case of badminton, there is no arguing that the title of “Greatest of All-Time” is only dominated by two players in Lin “Super” Dan and Lee Chong Wei. In the Badminton Olympics, Lin Dan dominated his two gold medal matches over Lee Chong Wei way back in 2008 and 2012.
This article will have a throwback on the life of a Chinese badminton legend that ruled the badminton scene in the 2000s and 2010s.
Super Dan’s Badminton Debut
Lin Dan made his significant debut way back in 1995 when he won the title boy’s single championship at the National Youth Championship. In the 2000 Badminton Asian Junior Championship, he emerged to be the winner in both team and single’s competition. He was also a part of the Chinese squad to compete in the World Junior Badminton Championship in 2000.
In 2001, he made his actual professional badminton debut playing for the Chinese National team and experienced the first taste of a professional atmosphere in Asian Badminton Championship final and a first professional defeat where he had a clash with fellow national team Xia Xuanze.
Super Dan’s Badminton World Cup and Open titles journey
“Win or lose, I believe in giving my best and that is what I always do.”
The 2000 era is the golden age of Lin Dan’s badminton career as he bagged multiple championships within that decade. It began in 2002 when he won the Korea Open title, his first badminton title followed by the wins in China, Hong Kong, and the Denmark Open, all in 2003.
Way back to 2004, he received his first ranked 1 on the BWF rankings. In that same year, he helped his nation to take home the Swiss Open title and he also took home his first-ever All England Open title. The years 2005 and 2006 are the most title years for the Badminton Hero, as he grabs as many titles as he can and retains his rank 1 throughout 2005. He won his second Hong Kong and German Open title followed by Japan Open, China Masters, and the World Cup tournaments.
He only failed to win the All England in 2005 as he fell from the hands of his fellow Chen Hong, followed by the defeat in Malaysia Open final over his rival Lee Chong Wei. Lin Dan won two Badminton World Cup gold medals in 2005 and 2006. It was followed by his five titles in the BWF World Championship in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. In 2008 he secured the BWF 2008 Best Male Player of the year and followed by MVP at the 2010 Asian Games and 2010 Best Male Athlete in CCTV Sports Personality of the Year.
In the Asian region, he dominated the Asia Championship by becoming the winner in 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015 edition. He also won the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games gold medal in the men’s team. In men’s singles of Asian games he clinched the title of 2010 and 2014.
Lin Dan’s Olympic Journey
Lin Dan made his Olympic debut all the way back to 2004 Athens Olympics and received his first Olympic defeat after he suffered an early thrashing from Singapore’s Ronald Susilo. Then, he made his redemption at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when he made an outstanding run on the way to the gold medal “dream” match with Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei. Lin dominated that match to clinch his first gold medal.
He replicated his run in the 2012 Olympics and again beat Lee Chong Wei in the gold medal match. In Rio 2016, he registered his victory over Srikanth in the quarterfinal to have another picnic with Lee Chong Wei in the semi-finals but he failed to duplicate it as Lee Chong Wei succeeded in his revenge but failed to win his first gold over Chen Long.
Lin Dan Image as a Badminton Player
Lin Dan’s bad boy image on and off the court made a great mark in badminton history. His two straight Olympic Gold medals made him a historic and legendary badminton player. He became a trendy sports figure due to his flamboyant personality, remarkable accolades, and his competitive/bad boy attitude on the court.
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