50 worldwide contenders for 2012: Lin Dan

Badminton

China

Born: 14/10/83

Career highlights

Regarded by many as the greatest badminton star ever, the Olympic champion is the only player to have won all nine leading titles.

He won his fourth World Championship gold in 2011, saving match points on the way to beating old foe Lee Chong Wei.

Career lowlight

The left-hander's Olympic victory in Beijing made amends for Athens, where he suffered a shock first-round defeat.

Other career

Something of a fiery maverick, Lin was alleged to have punched his coach at a media day in 2008 and also threw his racquet towards his opponent's coach during a match at the Korea Open in 2008. Rival Taufik Hidayat was once reported as saying that Lin's "arrogance" made him unpopular with other players.

Nonetheless, he is nicknamed Super Dan in China, where he enjoys superstar status with wife Xie Xingfang, a former women's world number one who won silver at the 2008 Olympics.

Lin marks every victory with a military-style salute to all four sides of the arena.

Did you know?

His parents had wanted him to be a pianist.

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