Lin started playing badminton at the age of 5, and began to his professional career at the age of 17. He soon became one of the dominant players of men's single, winning nine championships in the BWF Super Series between 2002 and 2004. In a surprise loss, he was eliminated in the first round of the badminton men's singles in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. He continued to dominate in international tournaments, and has been ranked continuously number one except for a very brief period of being ranked behind Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in 2007.
Among the tournaments Lin Dan has won are the All-England Open (2004, 2006, and 2007) and the China Masters. He has helped China win three consecutive Thomas Cup (men's world team) championships in 2004, 2006, and 2008. Lin also won the 2007 World Badminton Championships in men's singles, defeating Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in the final to become only the 2nd player after Yang Yang to win the men's singles championship back to back, after taking the gold medal in the 2006 World Badminton Championships.
He played for Chinese team in Sudirman Cup 2005 and 2007 as his team won.
In August, Lin Dan reached his first World Championship final in Anaheim, USA, but lost to Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat. Even so, he managed to claim several more titles: the China Masters and the Hong Kong Open.
He lost his world number one for a while to Lee Chong Wei but reclaimed it when he emerged as the 2006 world champion, overpowering his comrade Bao Chunlai 18-21, 21-17, 21-12. Bao was the player who defeated Lee in the quarter-final.
Earlier in May, Lin Dan and his teammates extended China's supremacy in the Thomas and Uber Cup event in Sendai and Tokyo, Japan. Lin won over Peter Gade in straight sets 21-17, 21-19 as China demolished Denmark 3-0.
In June, Lin Dan participated for China in the Sudirman Cup, Glasgow, Scotland, and the Chinese team brought home the cup after beating Indonesia 3-0. Lin himself did not play because the men's singles match was scheduled for the last match.
Afterwards, Lin Dan ousted Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia and became the champion of the 2007 China Masters. He won the Denmark Open and Hong Kong Open as well. In August, Lin Dan extended his reign as the world champion as he beat Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In the 2008 Thomas Cup that was held in Jakarta again, Lin Dan won almost every match he played, except in the semi-final where he lost to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei. However, he gave one point to China as he returned from his first-set loss and overcame Park Sung-hwan of South Korea 10-21, 21-18, and 21-8. China won over South Korea 3-1 and, with Lin's participation, brought back the cup for the third consecutive time.
Lin Dan did not play in Singapore and Indonesia, two tournaments that was ranked Super Series, but he played in the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold and conquered local favorite, Boonsak Ponsana, to take the title.
In the Olympic Games, Lin Dan, who was undoubtedly the local hero, began his gold medal hunt by subduing Hong Kong's Ng Wei 21-16, 21-13 in the round of 32. Next he saw off Park Sung-hwan (KOR) 21-11, 21-8, and shattered Peter Gade's dream of ever winning a medal in the Beijing Games in the last eight. He faced Chen Jin in the semis and sent the younger player to fight Lee Hyun-il in the bronze medal match.
Lee Chong Wei was his last opponent. It was supposedly to be a tough match, but Lin Dan grabbed the gold as he overwhelmed the Malaysian in an easy two-setter 21-12, 21-8. Lin became the first men's singles ever to win the All England title, the world championship title, and the Olympic gold medal.
Lin Dan plays some exhibition in Hong Kong and takes a holiday after the Olympics, and he will play again after October 8.
Lin is one of the more popular and controversial badminton players active today, due to his flamboyant personality. He is known as a temperamental player, occasionally disrupting matches to protest line calls. He has a romantic relationship with fellow Chinese badminton player Xie Xingfang. Lin was once an officer in the People's Liberation Army. He has been nicknamed "Super Dan" by his adoring mainland fans.
|1||Singles||17th August 2008||Beijing, China|
|1||Singles||2007||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|2||Singles||2005||Anaheim, California, USA|
|Thomas & Uber Cup|
|World Grand Prix|
|1||Singles||2008||Wilson Swiss Super Series 2008|
|1||Singles||2007||Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Super Series 2007|
|1||Singles||2007||Denmark Open Super Series|
|1||Singles||2007||China Masters Super Series|
|1||Singles||2007||Yonex All England Super Series|
|1||Singles||2007||Yonex German Open|
|1||Singles||2007||Yonex Korea Open Super Series|
|1||Singles||2006||Yonex Japan Open|
|1||Singles||2006||Hong Kong Open|
|1||Singles||2006||Chinese Taipei Open|
|1||Singles||2006||Yonex All England Open|
|1||Singles||2005||Hong Kong Open|
|1||Singles||2005||Yonex Japan Open|
|1||Singles||2004||Realkredit Denmark Open|
|1||Singles||2004||Yonex All England Open|
|1||Singles||2003||Hong Kong Open|
|1||Singles||2003||Realkredit Denmark Open|
|1||Singles||2002||Noonnoppi Korea Open|
|2||Singles||2008||Yonex All England Super Series|
|2||Singles||2008||Yonex Korea Super Series 2008|
|2||Singles||2006||Proton Eon Malaysia Open|
|2||Singles||2005||Proton Eon Malaysia Open|
|2||Singles||2005||Yonex All England Open|
|3||Singles||2005||Aviva Singapore Open|
|3||Singles||2004||Djarum Indonesia Open|
|3||Singles||2004||Yonex Japan Open|
|3||Singles||2002||All England Open|