Jan-Ove Waldner

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Jan-Ove Waldner
Jan-Ove Waldner.JPG
Personal information
Full name Jan-Ove Waldner
Nationality Swedish
Born (1965-10-03) 3 October 1965 (age 50)
Stockholm, Sweden
Playing style Shakehand grip

Jan-Ove Waldner (born 3 October 1965)[1][2] is a Swedish former table tennis player. He is often referred to as "the Mozart of table tennis,"[3][4] and is widely regarded as being the greatest table tennis player of all time. A sporting legend in his native Sweden as well as in China,[3] he is known in China as 老瓦 Lao Wa - ("Old Waldner)" or 常青树 Chang Qing Shu - "Evergreen Tree,"[5] because of his extraordinary longevity and competitiveness.

Biography[edit]

Jan-Ove Waldner was born in Stockholm on 3 October 1965. His athletic potential was recognized at an early age and was displayed in 1982 when, as a 16-year-old, he reached the final of the European Championships, losing to distinguished left-handed teammate Mikael Appelgren, who was perceived then as the logical successor to the original Swedish World Champion, Stellan Bengtsson. While still developing his game, Waldner, along with several other Swedish players, traveled to a national-level training camp held in China, and was reportedly amazed by the dedication and solidarity of the Chinese players. He has claimed ever since that he learned much during his stay, and thereafter first began to regard his opportunity to succeed in table tennis as paramount. In China, a country that adores table tennis, he is undisputedly the best-known[3] Swedish person, and still one of the most well-known sports personalities. In the 1990s, he was more recognizable in China than then President of the United States Bill Clinton. His venerable status and long career has led to his being nicknamed "the evergreen tree" (Chang Qing Shu) in Mandarin. He is considered by many to be the most technically complete player of all time, and is almost inarguably the most successful "shakehand" player who has ever lived.

He received the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1992.

As of 2015, Waldner has been playing international elite level table tennis for more than thirty years, which is somewhat unusual in the table tennis world given that hand–eye coordination and quick reactions are essential. Some young Chinese players whom he has recently played against were trained by those he played against in the 1990s, who were in turn trained by others he played in the 1980s.

He is one of the seven table tennis players who competed at the first five Olympic Games table tennis tournaments since the sport's introduction at the Games in 1988. The others are Swede Jörgen Persson, Croatian Zoran Primorac, Belgian Jean-Michel Saive, Hungarian Csilla Bátorfi, Serbian-American Ilija Lupulesku, and German Jörg Roßkopf.

In 2010 Waldner won his ninth Swedish championship against Pär Gerell, who was born the same year Waldner became Swedish national champion for the first time.

He played for TTC Rhön-Sprudel Fulda-Maberzell in the German Bundesliga until May 2012. In May 2012 Stefan Frauenholz, Fulda-Maberzell's President, confirmed that Jan-Ove Waldner finished his contract with the club. Timo Boll: "Was yesterday's match against us the last one for Jan-Ove Waldner?" referring to the Bundesliga semifinal between Borussia Düsseldorf and Fulda-Maberzell. This ended his career at the international elite level, at the age of 46 years.[6][7]

He is one of only five male players in the history of table tennis to achieve a career grand slam (World Champion and World Cup winner in singles, Olympic gold medal in singles) (in 1992). The others are: Liu Guoliang, China (in 1999), Kong Linghui, China (in 2000), Zhang Jike, China (in 2012), and Ma Long, China (in 2016).[8]

In Olympic terms, he is still (after the 2012 Olympics) a leader in medals won, with one Gold (Barcelona) and one Silver medal (Sydney), and an additional appearance in the semifinals of the Athens games, where he lost the Bronze medal to three-time Chinese world champion Wang Liqin.

In 2012 he began playing for Spårvägens BTK.[9]

On 11 February 2016 Waldner played his last game in the Swedish first league for Ängby/Spårvägen and officially announced his retirement as a player.

Olympic Games[edit]

  • 1988 Final 8 in single, final 8 in double
  • 1992 Gold medal in single, first round in double
  • 1996 Final 16 in single, final 8 in double
  • 2000 Silver medal in single, final 16 in double
  • 2004 Fourth in single, final 8 in double

World Championships[edit]

  • 1983 Silver medal in team competition
  • 1985 Silver medal in team competition
  • 1987 Silver medal in single, silver medal in team competition
  • 1989 Gold medal in single, gold medal in team competition
  • 1991 Silver medal in single, gold medal in team competition
  • 1993 Bronze medal in single, gold medal in team competition
  • 1995 Silver medal in team competition
  • 1997 Gold medal in single (21-0 in games), silver medal in double
  • 1999 Bronze medal in single
  • 2000 Gold medal in team competition
  • 2001 Bronze medal in team competition

European Championships[edit]

  • 1982 Silver medal in single
  • 1984 Silver medal in double
  • 1986 Gold medal in double, gold medal in team competition
  • 1988 Gold medal in double, gold medal in team competition
  • 1990 Gold medal in team competition
  • 1992 Silver medal in double, gold medal in team competition
  • 1994 Silver medal in single, silver medal in team competition
  • 1996 Gold medal in single, gold medal in double, gold medal in team competition
  • 1998 Bronze medal in double
  • 2000 Bronze medal in single, gold medal in team competition
  • 2002 Gold medal in team competition

Swedish Championships[edit]

  • 1981 Gold medal in double
  • 1982 Gold medal in double
  • 1983 Gold medal in single
  • 1984 Gold medal in single
  • 1986 Gold medal in single, gold medal in double
  • 1987 Silver medal in double
  • 1989 Gold medal in single, silver medal in double
  • 1991 Gold medal in single, gold medal in double
  • 1992 Gold medal in double
  • 1993 Silver medal in double
  • 1994 Silver medal in single, gold medal in double
  • 1996 Gold medal in single
  • 1997 Gold medal in single, silver medal in double
  • 1999 Gold medal in double
  • 2006 Gold medal in single
  • 2010 Gold medal in single

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Svenskar i världen (Swedes in the World), Spring edition 2005, Swedish magazine.
  1. ^ Jan-Ove Waldner profile. Swedish Table Tennis Federation
  2. ^ Biography of WALDNER Jan-Ove. ITTF.
  3. ^ a b c Bishop, G. (August 23, 2008). A Swedish face for China’s beloved sport. The New York Times.
  4. ^ Clarey, C. (August 23, 2004). For 'table tennis Mozart,' few high notes. International Herald Tribune.
  5. ^ Jan-Ove “Evergreen” Waldner – Table Tennis Legend. Game Tables Online
  6. ^ Table Tennista Europe
  7. ^ Fulda-Maberzell web site, retrieved 19 July, 2012
  8. ^ "Sport Olympics 2012: table tennis". The Guardian. London. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "Spårvägens BTK men's team in the 2012/13 season". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Pernilla Wiberg
Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal
1992
Succeeded by
Torgny Mogren