Hot tennis players are the norm and get all the press. Badminton, tennis’ little brother, not so much. The picture conjured up by the mention of a Badminton athlete tends to include black framed glasses held together with tape and a pocket protector jammed full of pens and mechanical pencils. But at the international level of competition, Badminton too has its sexy super stars. And at the top of the heap sits China’s Lin Dan, or Super Dan as his fans call him. Often shirtless. A two-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion, five-time All England champion, and considered by many to be the greatest singles player of all time, Dan’s shirtless act makes sense since he tends to spend his days whacking cock. At the very least it has to cut down on laundry bills. Not to mention garnering the 30-year-old stud lots and lots of fans throughout the world.
At 5’10” and 150lbs. the left-handed shuttlecock specialist was the first player to have completed the Super Grand Slam, having won all nine major titles in the Badminton world. He is also the first men’s singles player to retain the Olympic gold medal by winning in 2008 and defending his title in 2012. He’s also the only Badminton player to be named a spokesperson for the Italian luxury fashion house Dolce & Gabbana. Dan just picked up another gold medal to add to his impressive collection at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon too.
A bit of a bad boy in the badminton world, Dan sports five tats, rocks a look that has seen him as a blonde and both mustached and not, and infamously bitch slapped his coach in front of his teammates and reporters during the warm-up tournament ahead of the Thomas Cup in 2008. And then there is his habit, for no apparent reason other than the obvious, of stripping off his shirt after competitions. But then when you have a body as fit as Dan’s, why wouldn’t you?
Dan’s parents wanted him to become a pianist, but realizing pianists never go shirtless, Lin chose instead to play badminton at the age of five. Seven years later he joined the sports troop of China’s People’s Liberation Army and has been part of the country’s national Badminton team since turning 18 in 2001. Since then he has won over 25 gold medals in international competitions, and – at least in Asia – is the equivalent of Michael Phelps when it comes to athletic superstars.
Not in the least bit shy or reserved, Dan is known for being both fiery and temperamental; he wants to play the game his way, and contrary to some of his coaches’ opinions, his way flat-out works. In 2000, he burst onto the scene by winning the Asian Junior Championships, and then took the gold at the Korea Open in 2002. Two years later he won the Swiss Open, the All England Open, and led his country’s team to winning the Thomas Cup. By 2005 he was ranked as the #1 player in the world.
In 2006, Dan won six individual titles, recaptured the All England Open crown, and won his first world championships. The following year he won the Korea Open, the German Open, the All England Open, and then the China Masters. To top off that amazing year, Lin even repeated his victory of claiming the title of world champion.
Known for his sex-pack almost as much as his killer jump smash, in 2008 controversy began plaguing Dan’s career. First he got into a scuffle with South Korea’s coach over a line dispute. That was followed by accusations that he lost a match on purpose to increase one of his team mate’s rankings for the Olympics, not once but at two different competitions. Regardless, at the 2008 Olympics Dan took the gold, becoming the first men’s singles player to do so as a first seed. The following year started off a bit rocky for Lin, but by August he won every tournament he played in, including the World Championships, the first player to win that tournament three times.
In 2010 Dan again lost as many matches as he won, but managed to round out the year by winning his first Asian Games gold medal in November, becoming the first player to win all of the present major titles available to Asians in badminton, both individual and national team. The following year he withdrew from the Malaysia Open, his third withdrawal in a row since late 2010, which caused much criticism and a call for an investigation by the Badminton World Federation. In answer, Lin won his first million dollar tournament, the Korea Open, and then the German Open too. After winning the Asian Championships and the Sudiman Cup, Lin withdrew again from the Singapore Open, which drew jeers from fans in the stadium. But by the later half of the year he’d won his fourth World Championships title. Then, once again, he withdrew from competitions and once again was accused of maneuvering to improve his team mate’s standings for the London Olympic Games the following year. Nonetheless, Dan won his fifth Hong Kong Open, the China Open, and his first ever Super Series Master Finals by the year’s end.
In March of 2012 Lin won his fifth German Open title, and then became the first man in 33 years to win five titles in the All England Open later that month. In what was quickly becoming the norm for Dan, in April he again withdrew from an international competition, which moved his compatriot Chen Jin into an Olympic berth. Dan then helped his team win their fifth consecutive Thomas Cup title before again bowing out of an international event. At The London Games, he took the gold and became the first men’s singles player to retain his Olympic title. The following year Dan withdrew from the Badminton Asia Championships during the third round due to an injury, and then used a wild card entry at the World Championships to win his fifth title in that tournament.
This year, after a seven month absence, Dan was ranked at the 104th spot in the world. He came back to win the China Masters and the Badminton Asia Championships, but was denied his wildcard at the 2014 World Championships and was not allowed to compete and defend his title. Lin seems to do better in the latter part of any year, and this one has been no exception. He won the Japan Open in June, and then the Australian Open before his gold medal performance this week at the 17th Asian Games.
Often seen with cock in hand, Dan’s years of playing at the top level of the sport are catching up with him, although he still rocks a superb body as well as a much more mature look. And despite a record of far too many losses, he’s still Badminton’s super star. And he’s looking forward to the Rio Olympics and his opportunity for winning another gold.
[‘The XVII Asiad’ are a series of posts about hot competitors and general articles about the 2014 17th Asian Games of interest to gay men. So, yeah, lots of hot male eye candy. Click the XVII Asiad’ graphic below for additional news, stories, and pictures.]