Chinese badminton champion Lin Dan has announced that he will lay down his racket, ending a legendary 20-year career.
Lin racked up two Olympic championships and five world championships. He is considered by many to be the greatest singles badminton player of all-time and is one of the most popular athletes in China, known for his fire, competitive drive, and washboard abs.
The 36-year-old announced his retirement in a Weibo post on Saturday, thanking his family, coaches, teammates, and fans for supporting him through the highs and lows of the past two decades.
“Every jump smash was infused with my desire for victory. After going to the Olympic Games four times, I never gave a thought to leaving. I devoted everything to the sport I love,” Lin wrote.
“‘Persevere,’ I told myself at every difficult moment so that my career could last longer. Rather than just simply pursue rankings, I wanted to challenge the physical limits of an ‘old’ athlete and embody the unyielding sports spirt.”
However, Lin said that even he was eventually forced to acknowledge that his physical condition and injuries were no longer allowing him to fight beside his teammates.
In the days ahead, I hope to spend more time with my family and go search for a new arena,” he added.
Lin won gold in badminton men’s singles at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. He won world championships in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 while helping the Chinese national team win six Thomas Cups and five Sudirman Cups.
Lin won gold in badminton men’s singles at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. He won world championships in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 while helping the Chinese team win six Thomas Cups and five Sudirman Cups.
Fighting off injuries and old age, Lin has had limited success in recent years while his own personal drama at home overshadowed his play on the court.
“As a man, I won’t make any excuses for myself, but my actions have hurt my family and I would like to apologize to them here. Sorry,” he said in a short public apology after the affair was exposed.
But that scandal has been mostly forgotten for the moment with tens of thousands of Chinese netizens writing in to celebrate Super Dan’s accomplishments. At the moment, his Weibo post has more than 640,000 likes and 44,000 comments.
One of those paying his respects was Lin’s top rival, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, who retired himself just last year, and posted a little poem on the occasion of Lin’s retirement.
We knew this day would arrive,
Heavy moment of our lives;
You pulled down the curtain gracefully,
You were king where we fought so proudly;
Your final wave all four disappear,
Within the hush of silent tear.#lindan pic.twitter.com/gLJdpPTkB9
— Lee Chong Wei (@LeeChongWei) July 4, 2020