Who is ... Lin Dan
Who is Lin Dan?
Lin "Super" Dan is certainly deserving of his nickname: The only player to have completed the badminton "Super Grand Slam" by winning nine major titles, he is also the only men's singles player to win back-to-back gold medals in 2008 and 2012. Should he win gold in the category at Rio, Lin will be the only badminton athlete to have claimed the top men's singles spot in three consecutive Games.
Though his parents initially pushed him to become a pianist, Lin began playing badminton at five years old. At 12 years old, he was recruited by the People's Liberation Army Sports Team. As an 18 year old in 2001, Lin became a member of the Chinese National Badminton Team.
By winning the "Super Grand Slam", Lin earned titles at each of the following tournaments at least once:
- Olympic Games (Singles: 2008, 2012)
- World Championships (Singles: 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013)
- World Cup (Singles: 2005, 2006)
- Thomas Cup (Team: 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012)
- Sudirman Cup (Team: 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015)
- Super Series Masters Finals (Singles: 2011)
- All England Open (Singles: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2016)
- Asian Games (Singles: 2010, 2014; team: 2006, 2010)
- Asian Championships (Singles: 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015)
"The Olympic Games is a very special and different tournament. I consider it extremely lucky for any country to win five gold medals in one tournament, and more so at the Olympic Games. Winning a medal does not only require being able to compete at a high level but also having a bit of luck."
- Lin Dan to the Badminton World Federation
Lin Dan competed in men's singles at the following Olympics:
- Athens 2004: Lost in first round
- Beijing 2008: Gold
- London 2012: Gold
Off the court:
Lin is married to badminton player Xie Xingfang, who won silver in women's singles at the 2008 Olympics. He is considered something of a "bad boy" due to his temper, devil-may-care attitude and numerous tattoos, which are considered fairly taboo in Chinese culture.
In 2012, Lin accepted a master's degree from Huaqiao University. His autobiography, "Until the End of the World", was published shortly after the London 2012 Olympics.