Lin Dan is quickly becoming my new hero. With less than 100 days until the start of the London Olympics, I feel like it’s the perfect time to start gushing about athletes to watch and who I’ll be cheering for.
Not only the reigning Olympic champion in badminton, Lin Dan is widely considered to be the greatest badminton player of all time. He’s won all nine major badminton titles (really, did you know that badminton had nine major titles? I thought it was just a sport played by junior high kids where the boys walked around giggling about “shuttlecocks”).
At the ripe old age of 28 Lin Dan has already accomplished every major benchmark in his sport and is easily going to be a rock star in London. He’s called “Super Dan” in China (at least according to the English speaking people), but I’d imagine this summer in the States they’ll be going on and on about “LinDanity” (sadly, I didn’t not make that up. I wish I had).
Badminton (not badmitton) is a racquet sport that can be played singly or in pairs. The Olympics actually has five badminton events: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s pairs, women’s pairs, and mixed pairs (I can’t really think of any other sport where men and women team up on the same team … except maybe curling or pairs figure skating?).
Much like tennis, players are on a court with a net and they hit the shuttlecock over the net. Like tennis, the shuttlecock can only be hit once on each side and play ends once it hits the ground or goes out. A shuttlecock is a feathered projectile with a rubber tip. It can slow down enough that junior high kids can hit it, but at the highest level, that thing can get going pretty fast on both sides of the net. You need to watch this video of Lin Dan in action. It’s fabulous. I have three thoughts about it:
- Wow. This guys is incredible. Every time I think he’s finally going to miss it he still manages to get his racquet in there. It’s actually really cool to watch. Badminton may be my favorite sport.
- Who knew you’d have to jump so frequently in badminton?
- And who knew that badminton had so many fans?
Each game goes to 21 and the player who wins the rally gets the point, regardless of who served. The winner takes the match when they get the best of three games.
After checking out some of these videos of the amazing Super Dan, you can’t say that you’re not at least a little bit excited to see him in action in the Olympics.
Check out more pictures of Lin Dan back at Newscom.
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