Danish badminton players like Viktor Axelsen, Anders Antonsen, and Rasmus Gemke prove Denmark’s status as a European badminton powerhouse. But before these players, one Danish badminton player had earned legendary status, claiming wins against badminton’s GOAT and multiple European Championships. This Danish badminton player is the legendary racket magician, Peter Gade.
Peter Høeg Gade was born in Aalborg, Denmark, on December 14, 1976. He is famous for dominating the European Championships and the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Superseries. Gade also earned accolades for representing Denmark in the Olympics four times and winning 22 titles in the World Badminton Grand Prix. He also held the number one rank for more than three years — from 1998 to 2001. In addition to his achievements, Peter Gade’s trick shots have also given him international notoriety. His deceptive “double-action” shots have earned him victories against notable opponents — including Lin Dan. Peter Gade retired after their exhibition match at the 2012 Yonex Copenhagen Masters.
A magician on the court and a legend to many, Peter Gade is an example to today’s young Danish shuttlers. Find out more about this Danish legend who amazes and stuns both on the court and out of it!
Early Life Before Badminton
In an interview with BWF Unlimited, Peter Gade recollects his active life as a young boy in Aalborg. He disclosed in the interview that he began playing two sports. One was badminton. And, like Taufik Hidayat, the other sport was football.
According to Gade, he grew up loving both badminton and football. He played both sports until he was an adolescent. Eventually, he decided to focus his efforts more on badminton. Like Lin Dan, the acquisition of badminton skills kept him interested and engaged. Also, Gade admits that badminton played to his competitive nature just a bit more.
Before turning 17, he trained in badminton and competed in several local tournaments in Aalborg, Denmark. After some time, Peter Gade began receiving many questions about his plans for the future.
To nobody’s surprise, badminton was at the heart of the young Gade’s future endeavors — and it was a plan that would spur an illustrious 17-year career.
Peter Gade’s Junior Badminton Career
Despite losing in his first tournament, Peter Gade spent much of 1994 gathering badminton experience. He went on to join other International Badminton Federation (IBF)-sanctioned tournaments in both singles and boy’s doubles events.
Peter Gade finally tasted his first international gold medal as a youth doubles player in September 1994. Gade won his first international gold medal at the 1994 World Junior Championships in Kuala Lumpur.
On September 3, 1994, Peter Gade and Peder Nissen won the boys’ doubles event. They played against a skilled Indonesian team consisting of Eng Hian and Andreas.
A month after, Gade entered the German Open and Danish Open. Although he performed well as a young player, he came short in these open tournaments. The same happened when he played in the 1994 Irish Open.
Peter Gade started the first half of his 1995 campaign with a bang with gold-medal wins at the 1995 European Junior Championships. Peter Gade landed a hat-trick of gold medal victories, winning the boys’ singles, boys’ team, and mixed team categories.
Peter Gade joined more opens in 1995 following his stellar outing at the European Junior Championships. He amazed fans with his displays of trickery and athleticism at the Hamburg Cup, Russian Open, and Danish Open. At the Irish International Open, Peter Gade ranked fourth.
Consistency from 1996 to 1997 — Laying the Foundations for Success
Peter Gade talked about the importance of setting achievable targets in his 2019 interview with BWF Unlimited. According to him, the important thing is to “aim as high as possible.” His statements on achievable targets and consistency show his process-oriented approach to the game.
No other part of his career showed the results of his approach better than his start as a pro singles competitor. He began his pro career in 1996 at the Finnish International. At the 1996 Finnish International, Gade ranked third, chalking up a podium finish in his first outing as a professional singles badminton player.
Despite coming short in his first All England Open, Gade bounced back with another third-place finish. He bested Alan Budi Kusuma for the bronze medal at the 1996 Indonesia Open on August 31 of that year. Interestingly, he was the only non-Indonesian on the podium that day.
Nearing the end of his 1996 campaign, Peter Gade bagged gold at the 1996 Scottish Open. There, he encountered a formidable opponent in Ji Xinpeng. Gade spectacularly beat his opponent, winning two straight games.
Peter Gade carried his winning ways into the new year with an impressive showing at the 1997 Chinese Taipei Open. It was there where he defeated his compatriot, fellow Danish shuttler Poul Erik-Hoyer. This victory over another skilled Dane shuttler conferred another gold medal for the up-and-coming Peter Gade.
Throughout 1997, Peter Gade played his way to six more podium finishes, including three gold medals.
Peter Gade competed at the 1997 German Open on October 5. In the finals, he battled Paul Erik-Hoyer once again. The skills of the two Danish shuttlers were on full display.
Peter Gade won the pivotal third game by the narrowest of margins, beating his fellow Dane for the second time. Gade defeated Erik-Hoyer 15 points to 12 to win his second gold medal for the year.
A month after his win at the German Open, Peter Gade competed at the 1997 Hong Kong Open. The tournament featured a stacked singles division with the likes of Peter Rasmussen, Chen Hong, and Hong Kong’s Ng Wei.
Among the skilled shuttlers was Thomas Steur-Lauridsen, who Peter Gade met in the finals. With Thomas Steur-Lauridsen winning the second game, Gade had to win the third match for the gold. Endurance favored the younger Peter Gade as he dominated his opponent to win the third game, 15 points to 4. The win gave Peter Gade another gold medal for the trophy cabinet.
By the end of his 1997 campaign, Peter Gade had bagged six medals. Three of these were gold while the others were silver.
Peter Gade’s 1996 and 1997 victories and performances granted him not only accolades and experience — they also gave Gade enough points to climb to the top of the badminton rankings in 1998.
Peter Gade’s Time at the Top
Peter Gade reached world number one status in 1998. This accomplishment was the result of a successful 1996 – 1997 season. All that Gade needed to do was hold on to the world number one ranking for as long as he could — which he did!
His three-year grip on the top position began with an impressive rout at the Japan Open. The 1998 Japan Open was the first fixture of the year, held on January 12. Here, Gade fought to reach the finals. Only Luo Yigang stood in the way of his first gold medal. Gade made quick work of his opponent in two straight games, winning his first gold medal for 1998.
Gade’s victory at the Japan Open was the first in a hat-trick of IBF Grand Prix victories. Gade won two other back-to-back opens following his impressive Japan Open performance. Gade played and won at the 1998 Swiss Open and 1998 Malaysia Open.
At the 1998 Swiss Open, Peter Gade defeated Sun Jun in a thrilling three-match game. Gade took the third game by a narrow margin, winning gold.
Before heading to the Malaysia Open, Gade had one more stop — the 1998 European Championships. The singles’ division featured some of the best shuttlers from Denmark. Gade faced his compatriot Kenneth Jonassen, who he quickly eliminated in the finals to win his first European Championship title.
On July 5, 1998, Peter Gade competed at his second Malaysia Open. He faced Indonesia’s Jeffer Rosobin, beating him in two straight games for the gold.
Peter Gade capped his first year at the top with a gold-medal victory at the 1998 Danish Open.
1999 would also be an impressive year for Peter Gade, as foreshadowed by his performance at the 1999 All England Open. While it wasn’t Gade’s first time at the tournament, he had yet to taste gold, let alone a podium finish.
Gade faced the Indonesian superstar Taufik Hidayat in the finals. The two shuttlers battled tooth and nail, forcing the game into a third tie-breaking match for the gold. Gade’s trickery and endurance got the better of Hidayat, finally winning him a gold medal at the All England.
From 1998 until 2001, Peter Gade laid a path of defeated opponents behind him. His victories and performances allowed him to hold on to the world number one position for 159 weeks. Gade’s reign is one of the longest in BWF history, along with Lee Chong Wei’s and Lin Dan’s.
European Championship Dominance
Peter Gade has won the European Championships a record-breaking five times. Gade won his first European Championship title in 1998 after defeating his compatriot, Kenneth Jonassen.
In 2000, Peter Gade won his second European Championship title, defeating Poul-Erik Hoyer in the finals. Gade dominated his opponent in two straight matches, leaving little doubt about who deserves the gold medal.
Peter Gade entered the European Championships again in 2004. Held in Geneva, Switzerland, the 2004 European Championships saw a battle between Peter Gade and Kenneth Jonassen. The former defeated the latter decisively in the finals — a result that duplicated itself in the 2006 European Championships.
Gade returned at the 2010 European Championships in Manchester, England. The Manchester crowd witnessed Gade’s fifth European Championship victory as Gade defeated Jan Jorgensen.
Peter Gade’s Final Game and Retirement
The 2012 Yonex Copenhagen Masters was the swan song to an illustrious 17-year career laden with gold and silver medals. On December 28, the finals featured the match between Peter Gade and Lin Dan.
The match went on for three games. After losing the first game, Peter Gade returned strong in the second game, defeating Lin Dan 21 – 16. In the third game, Peter Gade beat Lin Dan by 7 points, settling his victory.
Peter Gade announced his retirement in 2012. Appropriately enough, he played his last match in his home country.
Peter Gade’s Signature — Shots From Out of Nowhere
Peter Gade is a mastermind of delivering deceptive shots capable of disorienting opponents. His signature “double-action” shots are the bread and butter of his performances on the court.
Gade’s double-action shots trick opponents into thinking he’ll strike the shuttlecock a certain way. Contrary to what Gade’s opponents expect, a different part of the racket hits the shuttlecock. The result is a different flight path from the one the opponent anticipated, causing them to miss.
Gade’s style of on-court trickery worries opponents and thrills fans. If you want to see Peter Gade’s trick shots in real-time, check out his top 10 trick shots in this video!
Life After Professional Badminton
A life beyond badminton probably doesn’t exist for the legendary Peter Gade. Peter Gade is now a badminton coach, teaching and training many young Danish players.
Peter Gade is also a family man. He’s a happy father, married to ex-handball player Camilla Høeg.
Yonex is Peter Gade’s clothing and equipment sponsor. The company was a long-time provider of the Danish legend’s badminton gear.
The relationship between the Yonex and Gade engendered the release of a Legends Vision racket. The Arcsaber 10 badminton racket was a tribute to the Danish legend’s accomplishments and career. Here, Peter Gade demonstrates his shots using the racket.
Peter Gade — a Danish Legend
Peter Gade’s career and on-court tactics and shots have cemented his status as a legend. His legendary status came from his dominance of European and International badminton at the height of his career. A victory against badminton’s best was a fitting ending to Gade’s illustrious 17-year career.
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