Their list of accomplishments are exceptional but even more exceptional is their journey to this point and the only thing missing from their list is Olympic gold in London. They have been at the very top of the men’s doubles rankings for over 8 years and have won nearly every title on several occasions, with 4 World Championships, 2 Asian Games titles and countless Super Series victories.
Cai Yun career was put into serious doubt in 2001, when heart problems from the previous four years of training forced him into heart surgery and a change of discipline from singles to doubles. In 2003, Cai Yun teamed up with Fu Haifeng and won a World Championship bronze medal. In the last few years, their rivalry with Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung has been several of the greatest matches in the history of the men’s doubles. Their 2009 World Championship Final has been revered as the greatest men’s doubles match in history.
In their 21 matches, they trail their Korean rivals 11-10 but two of their victories have came in the World Championships.
Are Lee and Jung Their Only Threat?
The Danish pair of Boe and Mogensen are the current world number 3 pairing, but the two pairs haven’t played for almost 2 years. Cai and Fu hold a 6-2 head to head over the Danes and their head to head over the world ranked 4 pairing of Ko and Yoo is even better, leading 7-1. Their record against all of the top 10 pairs is impressive, with only the Malaysia pair of Koo and Tan claiming more than two victories over Cai and Fu.
Can They Win Gold?
Anything less than a gold will be considered a failure for the Chinese pair. A likely 22nd match against Lee and Jung is expected in the Olympic final, with Cai and Fu feeding off their success from their 2009 and 2011 victories over the Koreans at the World Championships. They have only lost one match this year, to Lee and Jung in the All England Final in March. They will go to the Olympics in form after an impressive Thomas Cup showing, with five victories without the loss of a game.