He is a two-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion, and five-time All England champion.
Considered by many to be the greatest singles player of all time, by the age of 28 Lin had completed the “Super Grand Slam”, having won 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 only player to achieve this feat.
Lin has been in a relationship with Xie Xingfang, herself a former world champion badminton player, since 2003.
They were quietly engaged on December 13, 2010 in Haizhu, Guangzhou.
Xie initially denied but later acknowledged her relationship with Lin.
Lin reacted angrily towards the news and insisted that it was a personal matter between him and Xie.
Lin started the season with a defeat in the final of the Korea Open to Lee Hyun-il.
It was a match filled with controversy as Lin had a scuffle with South Korea’s coach Li Mao after a line call dispute.
Lin refused to apologize and received no punishment from Badminton World Federation (BWF) after its probe of the altercation.
In March he suffered another defeat to his compatriot Chen Jin in the final of the All England Open, which was followed by press accusations that Lin “gave” the match to Chen in order to increase Chen’s ranking points for Olympic qualification.
In the following week, Lin won his first Swiss Open.
At the Asia Championships, Lin was again accused of helping his compatriot when his loss to Chen Jin in the semifinals ensured Chen’s qualification for the Olympic Games.
After the Thomas Cup triumph, Lin played in the World Championships in Paris, France.
He won his opening match and then beat Henri Hurskainen and Bao Chunlai in the second and third rounds respectively before being upset by Park Sung-hwan in the quarterfinals.
The day also saw his arch rival Lee Chong Wei exit from the tournament.
Lin then bounced back to win the China Masters, but continued his lowlight in the season after being beaten in the final of the Japan Open, and conceding walkovers in the quarterfinals of the China Open, and Hong Kong Open respectively.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Lin eased against Ireland’s Scott Evans, and outperformed Taufik Hidayat in the second round.
In the quarterfinals, Japan’s Sho Sasaki almost showed him the exit after surviving from rubber games.
He had another easy victory against Lee Hyun-il in the semifinals to set up another meeting with his rival Lee Chong Wei.
In the repeat of 2008’s final, Lin this time lost the first game to Lee but bounced to take the second.
The third game became a thriller as Lin edged to a gold medal, narrowly beating Lee by two points despite Lee leading most of the time.
Lin also became the first men’s singles player to retain the Olympic title.
His ranking and performance suffered a lot due to his injuries and he could make only one appearance in 2013—at the Badminton Asia Championships.
However, he could not play all the games because of his nagging health problems and withdrew from the championship after reaching the third round.