Lin Dan

By the young age of 28, Lin Dan had clinched what is often referred to as the "Super Grand Slam" as he won nine of the world's most prestigious badminton competitions.
Lin Dan in a file photo (Image Credits - Twitter)

Lin Dan is a retired Chinese badminton player who holds a track record with two Olympic gold medals, five World Championships, and six All England Championships to his name. His exemplary career in the sport has led many to hail him as the finest badminton player in history. By the young age of 28, Lin Dan had clinched what is often referred to as the "Super Grand Slam" as he won nine of the world's most prestigious badminton competitions: the Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games, and Asian Championships.

In addition, Lin created history as the first men's singles player to secure back-to-back Olympic gold medals, with victories in 2008 and a successful title defense in 2012.Following his victory in the 2004 All England Open final, his competitor Peter Gade labeled him "Super Dan". He is presently acknowledged with the same name by many of his fans, followers, and worldwide.

Childhood and Family

Lin Dan was born on October 14, 1983, in Fujian, China. From a young age, Lin’s parents encouraged him towards piano lessons with the hope that he would become a pianist. However, he got inclined towards badminton instead. During the 2012 Summer Olympics, Lin was seen sporting five tattoos, including a Christian cross on his upper left arm. On 17 October 2012, Lin became the first active Chinese badminton player to be conferred a master’s degree, which he received from Huaqiao University. After his defense of his Olympic title at the London 2012 Olympics, Lin published his autobiography, entitled “Until the End of the World.”

Lin tied the knot with Xie Xingfang, who was herself a former world champion, on 23 September 2012. Their wedding ceremony was held at the Beijing University of Technology. The couple welcomed their first child, affectionately named “Xiao Yu” (Little feather), into the world on 5 November 2016.

Junior Career

His training began at the age of five, and by the time he was twelve, he had won the National Junior Championships. This achievement caught the attention of the People’s Liberation Army Sports Team, which scouted him. Eventually, Lin joined the Chinese National Badminton Team in 2001 at just 18 years.

Professional Career and Achievements

Lin Dan began his winning streak with the Korea Open title in 2002. His impressive performances in the 2002 Thomas Cup matches against Sweden, Denmark, and South Korea helped China advance to the semifinals. He concluded 2003 on a high note by claiming victories at the Denmark, Hong Kong, and China Open.

In February 2004, Lin took the top spot in the BWF’s world ranking for the first time. He had a pivotal role in China’s qualifying round of Thomas Cup victory and later emerged victorious at the Swiss Open. His maiden All England Open title came after defeating Peter Gade. This victory marked the end of a 14-year drought for China in the tournament.

Despite an early exit from his first Olympics, Lin made a successful comeback, securing three titles in 2004 at the Denmark, German, and China Opens. He maintained his world ranking through 2005 and added to his trophy collection with wins in the German and Hong Kong Open titles, along with victories in Japan Open, China Masters, and World Cup tournaments. His efforts also helped China regain the Sudirman Cup.

The year 2006 was a remarkable year for Lin, with six individual titles to his name. He was part of the team that extended China’s domination in the Thomas Cup by winning over Denmark. In 2007, Lin achieved another accomplishment by becoming the first player since Yang Yang to win consecutive world championships.

Before the 2008 Olympics, Lin clinched the Thailand Open. In the Olympic event, after defeating Peter Gade and Chen Jin, he faced Lee Chong Wei in the finals. Displaying exceptional skill, Lin comfortably defeated Lee, creating history as the first men’s singles player to clinch Olympic gold as a first seed.

His successful run continued into 2009 when he secured his fourth All England title, followed by his third World Championship. In 2010, at the age of 27, he added another feather to his cap by becoming the first player to claim all the major titles available to Asian men in badminton.

Lin’s winning streak extended to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where he became the first men’s singles player to defend the Olympic title successfully. He capitalized on a wildcard entry in 2012 to secure his fifth world title. He successfully defended his Badminton Asia Championships title in China in April 2015, and contributed to China’s 10th Sudirman Cup victory in May.

In 2016, Lin defeated the world No. 1 Chen Long to win his sixth China Masters title, although he couldn’t secure a medal in the Rio Olympics that year. The 2017 Badminton Asia Championship saw him claim a silver medal after losing to Chen Long in the final. He equalled Rudy Hartono’s record of reaching ten All England men’s singles finals in March 2018, but was outplayed by his younger teammate, Shi Yuqi.

Despite his advancing age, Lin continued to display exceptional performances, winning the New Zealand Open in May 2018 and his second Malaysia Open title in April 2019 at the age of 35. The All England Open in 2020 marked his final tournament, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of subsequent events.


Awards received for the accomplishments

Lin’s performances earned him the Eddie Choong Player of the Year award consecutively in 2006 and 2007. The following year, in 2008, he was recognized as the BWF Best Male Player of the Year. His performance at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, earned him the title of Most Valuable Player (MVP). He was declared China’s best male athlete for that year on 16 January 2011. This recognition was a part of China Central Television’s Sports Personality of the Year poll. Lin was inducted into the BWF’s Hall of Fame on 26 May 2023. Sharing this honor was his long-time adversary, Malaysian player Lee Chong Wei.

Medals at Major Events

Year Venue Opponent Score Result
2017 World Championships Viktor Axelsen 20–22, 16–21 Silver
2017 Asian Championships Chen Long 23–21, 11–21, 10–21 Silver
2016 Asian Championships Lee Chong Wei 20–22, 21–15, 4–21 Bronze
2015 Asian Championships Tian Houwei 21–19, 21–8 Gold
2014 Asian Games Chen Long 12–21, 21–16, 21–16 Gold
2014 Asian Championships Sho Sasaki 14–21, 21–9, 21–15 Gold
2013 World Championships Lee Chong Wei 16–21, 21–13, 20–17r Gold
2012 London Olympics Lee Chong Wei 15–21, 21–10, 21–19 Gold
2011 World Championships Lee Chong Wei 20–22, 21–14, 23–21 Gold
2011 Asian Championships Bao Chunlai 21–19, 21–13 Gold
2010 Asian Championships Wang Zhengming 21–17, 21–15 Gold
2010 Asian Games Lee Chong Wei 21–13, 15–21, 21–10 Gold
2009 World Championships Chen Jin 21–18, 21–16 Gold
2008 Beijing Olympics Lee Chong Wei 21–12, 21–8 Gold
2007 World Championships Sony Dwi Kuncoro 21–11, 22–20 Gold
2006 World Championships Bao Chunlai 18–21, 21–17, 21–12 Gold
2006 Asian Games Taufik Hidayat 15–21, 20–22 Silver
2005 World Championships Taufik Hidayat 3–15, 7–15 Silver

(Note- This only includes medals at the World Championships, Olympics, Asian Games, and Asian Championships.)


Lin Dan in a match against Lee Chong Wei (Image Credits - Twitter)

Lin Dan in a match against Lee Chong Wei (Image Credits - Twitter)

Lin Dan in a file photo (Image Credits - Twitter)

Lin Dan in a file photo (Image Credits - Twitter)

Lin Dan at the London Olympics 2012 (Image Credits - Twitter)

Lin Dan at the London Olympics 2012 (Image Credits - Twitter)

Lin Dan and his prime rival Lee Chong Wei (Image Credits - Twitter)

Lin Dan and his prime rival Lee Chong Wei (Image Credits - Twitter)

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