It has been well documented that Chen Long is the only shuttler who will defend his gold medal when competition begins a week today at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
But the Chinese ace could also join an elite yet illustrious band of back-to-back champions if he hits bullseye at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza on 2 August.
Among singles stars, only legendary compatriots Lin Dan and Zhang Ning were successful in keeping their gold medals at the edition that followed their maiden triumph.
Recent BWF Hall of Fame Inductee Zhang rose to the top of the podium at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. The latter edition was also where Lin Dan opened his account before repeating the trick four years later in London, besting the same opponent – Malaysian Lee Chong Wei – in a tense final.
In fact, and interestingly, only China have produced repeat winners at the Summer Games.
Ge Fei/Gu Jun were the first shuttlers to attain glory at consecutive Olympics, the women’s pair doing so at Atlanta 96 and Sydney 2000. Mixed pair Zhang Jun and Gao Ling picked up the baton in Australia and crossed the line again in Greece.
Another new BWF Hall of Famer Fu Haifeng won his gold medals in 2012 and 2016 but with different partners – famous sidekick Cai Yun and then Zhang Nan, the only player to take home the title in different disciplines four years apart.
Chen Long, the sixth seed in Tokyo, will therefore become the ninth member of the much-celebrated all-Chinese club by replicating what he did at a packed Riocentro Pavillion 4 in Brazil four years ago.