Lin Dan, the most famous two-time Olympic champion, and a five-time World champion, is widely regarded as the greatest singles player of all time in the history of badminton. Here are some very interesting facts about the Chinese badminton player, dubbed as Super Dan / Ultimate Dan:
He was born Lin Dan, on October 14, 1983, in Longyan, Fujian, China. His parents wanted him to learn music and specifically piano, but he chose to play badminton, to which he was attracted from the age of five.
At the age of nine he was enrolled in a badminton training school in Fuzhou and came into the limelight after he won the National junior Championship at the age of 12.
Lin was spotted by the People’s Liberation Army Sports Team and was enlisted into the ‘Chinese National Badminton Team’ in at the age of 18 years.
He made his international appearance at the 2000 Asian Junior Championships, where he won the both team and boys single event. He also reached the semifinal of boy’s singles event at 2000 IBF World Junior Championship at Guangzhou, China.
Although he took his first title in 2002at the Korean Open, he failed to clear the first round of the Singapore and Indonesia Opens that year. He was also knocked out of second round at the Denmark Open and in the third round of China Open.
Lin started the year 2003 in a positive note by reaching third round of All-England Open Badminton Championship, Birmingham before losing to Lee Hyun-il of South Korea 15-11, 15-06.
At the Japan Open and at the 2003, IBF World Championship in England, his compatriot Xia Xuanze turned out to be his nemesis, He lost to Xia in the final of Japan Open and in the third round of World Championship.
He ended the 2003 season on high by capturing the Denmark Open, Hong Kong Open and China Open. He also finished runner-up at German Open.
In 2004 Lin, experienced both high and low of his career, when he earned his BWF’s ranking of # 1 for the first time in February. He also experienced disappointment when he crashed out in the round of 32, at his first Olympics in Athens, to Ronald Susilo of Singapore 12-15, 10-15.
He won his first ever All-England Open title defeating Peter Gade of Denmark, 15-9, 15-5, 15-8 in 2004 and helped China win their fifth title of Thomas Cup to end twelve years drought in the tournament. He was in excellent form throughout the tournament.
In 2005, he won total of six titles including German Open, Hong Kong Open, China Masters and Japan Open. He failed to retain the All-England title and lost the finals of Malaysian and IBF World Championship that year losing to Chen Hong, Lee Chong Wei and Taufik Hidayat respectively.
Although Lin started the year 2006, in not so happy note but went on to retain the All-England Open Title and won his first IBF World Championship in Madrid, Spain.
In 2007, he became the first man since Yang Yang to win back to back World Championships, when he defeated Sony DwiKuncoro of Indonesia. He was also part of Chinese team which won the ‘Sudirman Cup’ at Glasgow, Scotland. He was awarded the ‘Eddie Choong Player of the Year’ for second successive year.
On January 28, 2008, Lin and his coach had a heated argument with South Korea’s coach Li Mao after a line call dispute. He neither refused to apologize nor did he receive any punishment from BWF. He went on to lose the Korean Open singles final.
In April 2008, on the way to winning the Thomas Cup for China, he was involved in yet another controversy when he struck Coach Ji Xinpeng in front of his teammates and media during the warm-up tournament. Reportedly he was not happy with starting line-up for the tournament.
Lin won the men’s singles title at 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, defeating Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia convincingly. He became the first men’s singles player to win the Olympic title as a first seed. He was voted the ‘BWF Best Male Player of the Year 2008.’
In 2009, he won his fourth All-England Open title and third World Championships. He was also part of Team China which won the Sudirman Cup for the third time in a row without conceding a match to any opponents.
On November 21, 2010, Lin won his first Asian Games Gold medal by beating Lee Chong Wei in the finals. He became the first player to win all of the present major titles available to Asian in Badminton both for individual and national team.
At the start of 2011 season he faced waist injury after second round, which prevented him from participating further at the Malaysian Opens. He gave a walkover to compatriot Chen Long. This action was criticized and called for BWF investigation.
In October 2011, at French Open, Lin withdrew from his semi-final match against Kenichi Tago despite leading 25-23, 18-15. He cited Paronychia as the cause but the media attributed it to strategic ploy to make way for lower ranked Chen Jin and for team China to have full quota in men’s singles for 2012 Olympics. It was his sixth retirement in the season.
Lin became the first men’s singles player to retain the Olympic title by winning the gold medal at 2012 London Olympics. After overcoming Sho Sasaki of Japan in the quarterfinals, he had relatively easy passage into the final where he defeated Lee Chong Wei in thrilling three games.
On October 17, 2012, Lin accepted his master’s degree at Huaqiao University, thus becoming China’s first active badminton player with a master’s degree.
In April 2013, he had to withdraw from third round after waking-up with pain in his left shoulder and could not lift his left arm. However later that year, he won the title at World Championships in Guangzhou, China, after getting a wildcard for the tournament due to lack of ranking.
Lin returned to active play after seven months absence and won the 2014 China Masters and the Badminton Asia Championship title.
In March 2016, Lin won his 5th All-England title, thus becoming the first man in 37 years to win five titles. He defeated Tian Houwei 21-9, 21-10. Earlier in March he had won the German Open for his seventh title.
In the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, he overcame tough quarterfinal match against Srikanth Kidambi of India, before losing the semifinals to Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. He went on to lose the bronze medal match to Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
After being eliminated in the semifinals of 2017 All-England Open, he bounced back to win the Swiss Open and the Malaysian Super Series Premier for the first time.
On September 23, 2012, Lin married his longtime girlfriend Xie Xing Fang, a former badminton world champion. They have a son named Fang Fang.
Lin has five visible tattoos which has been the subject of controversy due his military and religious status.
He is two time Olympic champion and five time world champion, and the first and only player to win all nine major titles in the badminton world. He has won 64 singles titles and was second in 22 other tournaments.