They call him the GOAT, short for the Greatest of All Time, in the sport of badminton. And why not? After all this is the man who has won two Olympic gold medals, five World Championships and 666 career wins. The player who is feared by his opponent even before the match begins. The one who was always tough enough to raise his game at 18-all and knock out his opponent (in badminton, the first player to 21 points wins). The one who finally called it a day, announcing his retirement on July 4. Yes, we are speaking of the incomparable Lin Dan.
Where did it begin?
Born in the Fujian region of China, Lin Dan’s parents tried to get him interested in the piano as a child. He chose badminton instead and began training at the age of five.
Lin Dan picked up his first title as a nineteen year old at the 2002 Korea Open. He first secured the #1 ranking in world badminton in 2004 and later that year won the All-England Open, one of the most prestigious titles in the sport. His glory years would come closer to the end of the decade as he continued to relentlessly (without stopping) snap up titles and tournaments. He continued playing non-stop until a few months ago when the coronavirus pandemic caused the suspension (stop) of all sports tournaments.
Despite his age – he is almost 37 – Lin Dan had kept going as he was eager to win a third Olympic gold. But then the Olympics was postponed to 2021 and Dan knew that he just wouldn’t be able to keep going. So, on July 4, he announced that he was retiring from the sport he had dominated for 20 years. “From 2000 to 2020, it’s been twenty years since I joined the Chinese national team. Now, I am saying good-bye,” the two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion announced.