Chen Long wins gold; Axelsen rallies vs. Lin Dan, wins bronze
By: Michael Dietze
Men's singles bronze medal match
Lin Dan (China) vs. Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)
In the battle for third place and the men's singles bronze medal, Viktor Axelsen stepped his game up to another level and rallied from a game down to defeat Lin Dan 2-1. After Lin pulled away late to win a close, back-and-forth first game, 21-15, the 22 year-old Axelsen handedly won the second game 21-10. The Dane secured numerous points on ferocious smashes which Lin simply could not handle. Late in the deciding game, with a visibly tired Lin, Axelsen strung together another series of great smashes to pull out the victory and stun Lin, 21-17. With Axelsen's win, Denmark captures it's second medal in this tournament after winning silver in the women's doubles competition. Axelsen also becomes the first non-Asian medalist in the event in the past 20 years.
Men's singles gold medal match
Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) vs. Chen Long (China)
With Lee Chong Wei retiring after the Olympics, it would have been a dream ending to win the gold medal and ride off into the sunset. However, Chen Long, his opponent, had other ideas. Using his athleticism, younger legs, and height advantage to supreme effect, Chen was able to make the much older Lee move all over the court and fire rocket-like smashes at the Malaysian that he could not deal with. While Lee did string together a series of consecutive points in the first game, looking like he might take full control of it, that never happened. Chen continued to battle and imposed his physical ability on the game, figuring out a way to win it, 21-18. The second game was very similar to the first. While it was again, very close, Chen was able to set Lee up for the difficulty of dealing with his lethal smash. Lee Chong Wei battled but could just not get into a consistent game plan of attacking Chen. The Chinese sensation won the second game by the same score as the first, 21-18, winning the match 2-0, and winning what could be the first of many gold medals. In a disappointing ending to Lee's illustrious career, he walks away with the silver medal for the third straight Olympics.