Nanjing: We’re now just hours away from the Opening Ceremony of the Nanjing Youth Olympics, and before the big event, fans got the opportunity to interact with one of China’s most successful athletes, two-time Olympic badminton champ Lin Dan. The Chinese superstar, is also active in the Youth Games, as he was a torch-bearer during the torch relay earlier this week, and also had the time to talk with our Wang Dong, in this CCTV exclusive.
Wang Dong: Role in this function?
“I think health and dreams are very important to young atheletes. No one knows what’s in the future. There may be difficulties. But I think only those who dream big can reach their full potential,” Lin said.
Born in 1983, Lin Dan started pursuing his dream since the age of five, and quickly showed his badminton talent, as he emerged as a winner at the 2000 Asian Junior Championships in both the team and boys’ singles events. The young man soon established his own style of playing, powering his way to victories with determined will, leading fans to nickname him “Super Dan.”
“I don’t know who started it, or when they began to call me this nickname (Super Dan). I just try my best to play the game well, and achieve my goals step by step. I would thank those people who pay great attention to me, and wish for me to grow stronger. But as for myself, I will keep my state of mind in balance. I know it is playing the game well, and not nicknames, that is really important to me,” Lin said.
Wang Dong: Kind of self-protection?
“I believe every player on court will show his or her own force in order to defeat their opponent. I don’t think there is any difference between me and other players. I am the same as anybody else. If you don’t beat down others, others will beat you down you, that’s the rule of competitive sports,” Lin said.
Lin’s eagerness to win helped him achieve success at an early age, as he earned the BWF’s world number one ranking for the first time in 2004, when he was just 21 years old. After that, he gradually collected success by earning gold medals in great events. His list of accolades includes two-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion, and five-time All England champion. By the age of 28, Lin had completed the “Super Grand Slam,” by winning all nine major titles in the badminton world: Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games, and Asian Championships, becoming the first and so far only player to achieve this feat.
Wang Dong: You’ve already got all the honors under your belt, so what’s still motivating you to go further?
“That’s because I love the game. That is why I love to return to the court to train and to compete. I feel that I am still young, and I have no injuries, so I would like to try to do more. There might be people saying that you’re 31 years old, and you can’t compete like you did years ago. But why shouldn’t you let yourself have a try? I also want to set an example for the young people, and show them that you can do better, even when others have doubts about you,” Lin said.
Wang Dong: So Lin Dan, are we gonna see u in Rio two years later?
“This is my goal. This would be my fourth Olympic Games if I can be there in Rio. There won’t be many four-year periods in one’s professional life, so I would be very proud and honored to represent China in the Games four years after London,” Lin said.
Wang Dong: Can you imagine nobody has ever won three Olympic Games in a row, and you might be able to do so. What would that mean if that happens?
“I don’t think about that much. I just want to finish the competitions well before the Rio Olympics, because the coach will examine our competitive status based on the matches, and those events will also influence my world ranking. So I think the most important job for me is to focus on these things. My old rival Lee Chong-Wei is always trying his best to stay near the top, and having such a great opponent always pushes me to do my best all the time,” Lin said.
Lin continues to face challenges, not only in the badminton world, but also in commercial endeavors, as he’s opened two cafes under his own brand. As a boss, he likes to make the first cup of coffee for a customer by himself, on top of which lays a badminton figurine, reminding everyone of his neverending love for the sport.
“In the past, I attended competitions to win glory for my country, not for myself, but now I’m learning to enjoy the game, although maybe not 100 percent. I feel happy when I return to playing after taking a few days off. When someone talks about Lin Dan, they think of badminton, which I am extremely proud of, and if I can get more people to love playing badminton, or pursue the sport competitively, that is enough to me as a player,” Lin said.
Source: CCTV News