After beating India’s P.V. Sindhu to become the first female athlete outside of Asia to win badminton singles gold, we give 10 fun facts about Spain’s Carolina Marín.
1. Marín got into badminton by accident when – at the age of eight – a friend asked her to come to the local sports hall and take part in a new sport.
2. Her first love, however, was flamenco dancing. She ultimately had to decide between flamenco and badminton – and badminton won!
3. At the age of 14, Marín left her home in Huelva in south-west Spain to move to Madrid and play at the national high performance centre.
4. The move paid dividends and, within three years, the Spaniard was competing at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Singapore 2010, where she reached the quarter-finals.
5. After bowing out of the Olympic Games London 2012 at the group stage, Marín got a tattoo of the Olympic rings on her left wrist. Four years later, she has a gold medal to go with the tattoo!
6. The 23-year-old is the first woman outside of Asia to win the Olympic singles title.
7. The victory was Spain’s first-ever Olympic badminton medal. “It is a really important medal for Spanish badminton,” Marín said after winning the gold medal match.
8. Her coach Fernando Rivas speaks eight different languages.
9. Her idol is another Spaniard who is extremely skilled with a racquet in his left hand – tennis superstar Rafael Nadal. Like Marín, Nadal won a gold medal at Rio 2016, in the men’s doubles with Marc López.10. When she was 14, Marín told her coach that she wanted to be the Olympic, world and European champion and the world’s top-ranked player. Nine years later, after a lot of hard work, she has fulfilled that ambition. “It is amazing that my dream has come true,” she said.