General

Mogensen helping his partner Boe up during the London 2012 Olympics (Photo: BadmintonPhoto)
Legends: Carsten Mogensen
Date: 7/21/2020 2:31 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
A look through the Danes glittering career

Mogensen was born in the former hub of the Viking-lands, Roskilde, and made an early mark in the badminton community when impressing at the European Junior Championships. In 2001, he travelled down to the village of Spała, Poland, and claimed the men’s doubles gold with Rasmus Andersen, and the silver with no other than Kamilla Rytter Juhl. Interestingly, it was his partner Andersen with Mette Nielsen who took the mixed doubles title in a dramatic final, ending 17-15 in the deciding game. 

Like many talents coming off the back of junior success, coaches observe performances and swap partnerships around as they take their first steps into senior badminton. This is particularly the case for countries with large talent pools like Denmark. For Mogensen, this was 2002 and 2003, and it is often forgotten that Mogensen continued his mixed doubles with Rytter Juhl, reaching four European circuit finals, but only lifting the Croatian International, which was a revenge result against his doubles partner Andersen, who then played with Lena Frier Kristiansen.

In the men’s doubles, titles came a lot easier, winning the Dutch and Slovenian International with Andersen, and the French International with Joachim Fischer Nielsen. A stint with the more experienced Jim Laugesen, former world number one, brought a step up in tournament level, but then came the pivotal moment in his career – the birth of the partnership with Mathias Boe. 

In their first tournament together, they reached the final of the US Open, losing to the Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach, who went onto win the World Championships the following year. A defining moment for the pair came almost immediately, when at the 2004 German Open, Mogensen, together with Boe, went all the way to the title, defeating Jesper Larsen and Joachim Fischer Nielsen in the final. Mogensen also took the mixed doubles title with Rikke Olsen. 

It became clear that the tall duo of Mogensen and Boe can step up and challenge the top pairs in the world. Boe dominating the net, and Mogensen providing the consistent angled bombardment from the rear.

Rise to the top
Building year on year, the partnership began to push towards the top. In the 2006 Swiss Open, they defeated Korea’s Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung in the semifinal, and 2007 marked the first closely fought clashes with Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong in the Philippines and Denmark, as well as the first meeting with Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun at the China Masters. Matchups which went on to shape their careers. As in the singles, we had the four legends of Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei, Taufik Hidayat and Peter Gade, pushing each other to an extreme level, these four men’s doubles pair elevated the sport to a whole new stratosphere. 

Between the beginning of their partnership and 2008, Mogensen and Boe had been in 13 tournament finals, winning eight of them. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they were chosen behind the two Danish pairs of Jens Eriksen/ Martin Lundgaard Hansen and Lars Paaske/ Jonas Rasmussen, so did not travel. The latter pair narrowly missed out on the bronze. London 2012 was their focus now. 

Following the Beijing Olympics, they wasted no time in stepping up, reaching their first Superseries final at the China Open, losing in three games to Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung. Doing this in China, after all eyes were on Beijing, was symbolic of their readiness to make a statement. They then overturned this result against the Koreans at the Korean Open early in 2009, marking their first of many Superseries titles. 

Their tendency to overturn results became synonymous with the Danish pair. In 2009, they were also runners up to Koo and Tan at the Denmark Open and lost the final of the Super Series Finals to Lee and Jung. The following year they put things right when lifting the Denmark Open, defeating the reigning Olympic champions, Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan in straight games, and this time defeated the Koreans in the final to win the Super Series Finals. A healthy habit which they continued in 2011 and 2012. The year 2010 was a great year for Mogensen and Boe, however, they agonisingly missed out on the cherry on top – the prestigious All England Open title. In an all-Danish final, Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen, whom they had defeated in their three previous encounters, were in their way to glory. In one of the most entertaining men’s doubles finals in All England history, Mogensen and Boe missed out by losing 23-21, 19-21, 24-26. 

But what do Mogensen and Boe do best? Fast forward one year to 2011, and we see them lifting the All England Open title after defeating Malaysia’s Koo and Tan in an equally entertaining final. Despite this high, which was topped off with another China Open title and a Super Series Finals win, 2012 was the ultimate target. 

Defending their All England title they came up against a well-drilled Lee and Jung in the semifinal (13-21, 3-21), who went onto defeat Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng in the final. Although a closer match, the Koreans were again too strong for the Danes in the final of the Indonesian Open. Then it was time for the London 2012 Olympics. 

The Olympic moment
Mogensen and Boe navigated their group without defeat, despite a major scare against Russians Ivanov and Sozonov. After a straightforward quarterfinal’s day, the big four pairs, representing Denmark, China, Malaysia and Korea, were in it for the medals. The Danes had to face the Koreans again, who in recent matches had the upper hand. However, as they have shown in the past, regardless of previous results, the freshly crowned European Champions have a tendency to overturn them. In a nail-biting semifinal, the Danes edged it 17-21, 21-18, 22-20. Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun were too good in the final, but the Danes were delighted with their historic silver Olympic medal, a first men’s doubles medal for Denmark and Europe!

Catapulted to legendary status for European doubles, they continued to mix it with the top for an impressive number of years. In 2013 and 2014, they won silver and bronze respectively at the World Championships, medals that had alluded them before. They won the All England again in 2015, defeating the new-look partnership of Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan, who went onto win the Olympics in Rio 2016. Later that year they were crowned European Games gold medallists in Baku. 

Teamwork
Mogensen has helped Denmark in winning nine gold medals in European team events, as well as silver and bronze in both the Sudirman and Thomas Cup. While in Kazan at the 2016 European Men's Team Championship, Mogensen fainted in his hotel room. It transpired that he had suffered an intracranial aneurysm and had to undergo brain surgery. This sent shockwaves through the badminton community who wished him a speedy recovery but were already preparing themselves for a badminton circuit without Mogensen. 

In 2017, we witnessed an incredible moment, when not only did Mogensen return to competitive badminton, he together with Boe took the European Championship gold on home soil, adding to their previous win in 2012. The following year, they took the Swiss Open title and were runners up at the All England Open against the new dominant pair, Indonesia’s, Kevin Sukamuljo and Marcus Gideon. 

Mogensen, after almost half of his lifetime playing with Boe, split up and played with mostly Mads Pieler Kolding and once with David Daugaard. Following this he announced his retirement in 2020. Stating the following in a press release to Badminton Denmark.

-I cannot see myself in this project. My goal was to play until 2024, but of course, that should be in a project I would commit myself to.

Read: Carsten Mogensen quits international badminton

It is without a doubt that Mogensen’s career will inspire and teach not just the younger generation, but everyone, that no matter what has happened in the past, if it’s a bad result or a medical shock, you can get up, dust yourself off and overturn your fortunes next time around. 

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