Ma Lin participated in the World Championships in Rotterdam last year. Actually, a lot thought that it could be his last shot for a Grand Slam. However in the quarterfinals, Ma Lin lost such chance against the much younger Ma Long.
Ma Lin earned his first major world title in year 2000 when he won the World Cup (video below). Eight years later, Ma Lin snatched the most coveted Olympic Singles title in homesoil. After earning these titles, a lot were hoping that Ma Lin would be able to complete the three major world titles and have a Grand Slam through the World Championships.
"Actually, after I won two medals in the 2008 Olympics, Coach Wu once said to me: 'You can do it (referring to the World Championships). You swept the Beijing Olympics!" Ma Lin recalled.
However, things were tough for Ma Lin in the World Championships. The veteran has been in such platform seven times but his best performances only got him the silver and never the gold. Ma Lin eventually gave his explanation on this matter, giving more importance to the Olympics.
"My dedication on taking the Grand Slam is far lesser than with the Olympic Games. If I have to choose between Grand Slam and participating in the Olympic Games, I will definitely choose the latter. When I was still a kid, I haven't heard of the Grand Slam and I don't even know when this term came out. At that time, I only know about the Olympics." Ma Lin said.
Truly, as for common knowledge, athlete or not, the Olympics is really the highest form of competition. It gives anyone a different sense of pride and fulfillment. For some, just being in the arena, win or lose, is already a great achievement. This is also the same for Ma Lin.
However, Ma Lin also said that he doesn't completely disregards the idea of a Grand Slam. He, himself considers it as a wonderful achievement as well.
"Of course, getting the world championships is also a wonderful idea. However, if your goal is only locked on the world championships, I think that is just too small. To be honest, the current world championships (Rotterdam) really did not get my interest. The team event may be a little better since it was a collective effort and I felt that I have more importance." Ma Lin added.
Well, this just explains that you decide for your own fate. With less dedication, the result can also be less. Indeed, considering the degree of dedication he puts for the Olympics, Ma Lin is already a fulfilled athlete, after all, he has already completed all the medals available in the history of the Olympic Games.
As a treat, let us reminisce the performance of Ma Lin in the 2000 WTTC against Kim Taek Soo of South Korea: Ma Lin first defeated the South Korean in the World Cup of the same year where he posted a superb 3-0 and got his first ever world cup title.
Ma Lin vs Kim Taek Soo 2000 WTTC
video kindly shared by NationalKid
Photo source: etta.co.uk