With his female partner Cheng I-ching, Lin Yun-ju, then 20 years old, won a bronze medal for Taiwan in the table tennis mixed doubles event at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
The latest table tennis sensation in Taiwan has really been playing the game for over ten years, although few people know this. He already had a promising career before these Olympics, and they just gave it a boost.
Y.J. Lin Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
All Taiwanese were inspired by the Olympic Games in Tokyo this past summer. They also served as a turning point in Lin Yun-career, ju’s elevating him from a minor celebrity to a household figure in the world of table tennis.
While appearing reserved and modest on camera, this young athlete showed no such restraint or timidity at the 2021 National Games, which followed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Between games, he was interviewed, and when the topic of his epic Olympic clash with top Chinese player Fan Zhendong came up, his eyes lit up as if he were reliving it. While remaining unusually quiet, he did make a rare public statement, saying, “I was in the zone during the match.”
A condition of complete focus is achieved when one enters the “zone,” or “flow” as it is called in psychology. When an athlete is in “the zone,” time seems to stand still and they are entirely focused on the work at hand, allowing them to reach their peak performance.
It would appear that Lin is more comfortable behind a paddle than in the limelight.
Mastermind at the Table
Lin’s finish in Tokyo equaled for the best by a Taiwanese athlete in men’s singles table tennis in the Olympics. Despite his tender years, he has already risen to the fifth spot in the world rankings.
The likes of Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany and the Chinese superstars Fan Zhendong and Ma Long are among the table tennis greats he has bested. He is known as the “silent assassin” because of his cool demeanour while playing.
Although most table tennis players begin their careers at age four or five, Lin didn’t start playing until he was in the third grade. His dad taught at National Ilan University, where he attended a ball sport camp that summer and tried out a number of other sports. He preferred table tennis to basketball and badminton since he lacked the physical attributes necessary to compete successfully in those sports.
In the span of just over a year, Lin was undefeated and became champion of a number of national singles tournaments. He made history as the team’s youngest ever player when he joined at the age of 14.
What You sow is what You Reap.
Even though Lin has been called “the best Taiwanese player in two decades” and “the talent of the century,” few people realise how much harder he trains than his contemporaries.
Lin typically begins his daily technical instruction around 9:00 a.m. to 1 o’clock, followed by lunch and a nap. From 3 until 8 p.m., he trains again, this time focusing on strength and conditioning before calling it a night.
As a result, Lin’s physical therapist Wu Chien-liang has to stick around during his workouts, which may be taxing on both of their time. “By the time I get home at night, it’s almost 11,” I say.
Most athletes will only work with one training partner at a time because of the demanding nature of the exercise. However, Lin’s support squad includes two other trainees who can take turns working out with him. Huang Yu-jen, Lin’s training partner, admires his determination and sense of duty. He says, “For an athlete his age, he works extremely hard.”
Lin does not rely solely on hard work, technique, and strength to dominate the court. His tactics usually determine who wins or loses in a match. Yang Heng-wei, Lin’s other training partner and teammate on the national team, says that the best thing about playing with Lin is the well-organized practises.
They never practise without thinking ahead to the next ball. Their exercise, though physically demanding, is fulfilling and meaningful, allowing them to maintain their mental vigour.
The Epitome of Athleticism
Lin’s pleasant nature is constantly remembered. In particular, after losing against Fan Zhendong in the semifinals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, a reporter asked him how he rated their play. Fans all over the world praised Lin for his humility immediately and enthusiastically. He has been called “Little Lin” and “Taiwan’s golden child” by fans there.
Lin doesn’t seem to care about his reputation outside of making public appearances. He seldom ever makes new Facebook status updates, and his Instagram account is bare.
Focusing on outward appearances rather than inner traits leads to churlishness, as stated in Confucius’ Analects. Pedantry arises when one values finesse over physical attributes.
This proverb is applicable to both men and athletes, as only a harmonious combination of the two will produce a man of virtue. Athletes competing in the Olympics are the greatest in the world at what they do, but success isn’t always the key to winning over the hearts of spectators.
It usually comes down to whose game has more guts and style. Lin Yun-ju is the epitome of virtue if you’re looking for a sportsman who possesses superior moral fibre, cultural sophistication, and athletic prowess.