A 2016 Olympic gold medal in Rio, four European trophies and three at the global level have made this athlete—who’s sponsored by the Meliá group and serves as our ambassador in Asia—a Spanish icon in the spor ting world. We spoke with Carolina to discover
A chat with three-time badminton world champion Carolina Marín, who’s sponsored by the Meliá group.
Since Carolina Marín began winning titles, badminton competitions in Spain have become unmissable events, generating interest in a hobby that was previously unknown. Meanwhile in Asia, where badminton players are media stars, she’s practically a celebrity. We spoke to her, a few days after she made history by winning her third world title in Nanjing (China).
You’re the only woman with four European titles and three world championships, plus an Olympic gold medal. How does it feel to be compared, at just 25 years of age, with Spanish sporting legends like Ángel Nieto, Severiano Ballesteros and Rafael Nadal?
It’s a great recognition, and it makes me really happy that my name is associated with the greatest athletes and icons in Spanish history. They ’ve done so much for our country ’s sporting culture.
How do you define success?
It’s the culmination of a journey.
I’ve learned that wanting success doesn’t bring you closer to achieving it. You have to make a plan to work towards it and try to enjoy the journey, even if it's hard.
In Spain alone, more than two and a half million people watched you
play in the badminton finals. How many people might have watched it around the world?
The truth is I don’t know, but I guess it would be several hundred million. In China it’s the second or third most popular sport to follow. And you also have to include Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and so on.
Are you a star in Asia?
I play a sport that’s very popular to watch there. That and my victories have given me a lot of followers who I share my successes with. It makes me really happy, because it means they like what I do.
As a hugely popular figure, do you feel any responsibility towards the millions of people who follow and admire you?
I don’t feel too much responsibility; the best way to describe how I feel is proud. Because like I said, all of those people follow me because of what I do and who I am.
We know that you train very hard, but is physical training enough?
No, not at all. The physical aspect is one part of training, but so are the
YOU HAVE TO MAKE A PLAN TO WORK TOWARDS, AND TRY TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY EVEN IF IT'S HARD.
I’M VERY HAPPY TO RECEIVE THEIR SUPPORT, AS WELL AS TO WEAR THEIR NAME ON MY UNIFORM AND ACT AS THEIR AMBASSADOR IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD.
technical, tactical and mental aspects. One of the best things about my team is that we’ve managed to unify all of these parts, to make my training comprehensive.
How much of your success do you attribute to your team, values, preparation and mental strength?
It kind of ties in to my answer to the previous question. Without my team I wouldn’t have achieved what I have, and they undoubtedly affect my training too. My values and my mental strength have also been a fundamental part of my success, but I can’t attribute percentages to the different areas.
Your motto, ‘I can because I think I can’, has become famous for its sense of willpower and fighting spirit, but do you have moments of weakness?
Of course, we all have them. Athletes are not superheroes.
The key lies in overcoming those moments.
You love your country, but what advice or hopes do you have for it?
I don’t know what to say. I think a lot of the time we athletes are required to be role models and leaders not only in our own discipline, but also in life. That being said, I think it’s too much for me to give advice to Spain. I'm just a badminton player.
Does being European pose an extra difficulty in a sport that’s so popular in Asia Pacific, which is dominated by Asian players?
Badminton has a much longer history in Asia, which helps more people get into playing the sport. But extra difficulty... I’m not sure. Maybe when you play in a country against a local player, obviously the whole crowd will support them, but beyond that, I don’t think there are many differences.
If you had to choose the keys to your success, how would you rank these, in order of importance: talent, effort, values and luck?
I don’t know how I would rank them, but I would say that hard work, discipline and perseverance are essential.
Do you consider yourself a representative of the ‘brand’ of Spain?
I like that people recognise my country because of what I do. It’s a way of representing one of the many things we do well here.
How do you balance your career with your sponsorship agreement and partnership with Meliá Hotels International?
It’s an honour, that’s for sure. It’s the most significant brand in one of Spain’s strategic sectors, and I’m very happy to receive their support, as well as to wear their name on my uniform and act as their ambassador in different parts of the world.
The CEO of Meliá Hotels International,Gabriel Escarrer, meets with Olympic athlete Carolina Marín,the Meliá group’s ambassador in Asia.
Carolina Marín, a spor ting icon inSpain and around the world, has won more badminton world championships than any other player.
The Spanish athlete is a superstar in Asia, where badminton is one of the most popularspor ts to follow.
The player celebrates being crowned world champion for the third time in August 2018.