To some of you, this comes as a surprise. To some of you, it does not. The latter group will say: "Just look at his results, of course he's retiring." The latter group is right to not be surprised, but they are wrong about why.
This quote is the prelude to Jinro's e-Sports swansong. The Swede, who had a lengthy career in both Brood War and StarCraft 2 as part of both Korean and Foreign organizations has decided to hang up the mouse. His time in Korea, pursuing the dream of becoming a famous, televised player the likes of BoxeR, NaDa or Moon started as early as 2009, when he moved to Korea to become part of one of the most successful teams in Brood War at that time.
Although he hit a bumpy start, amounting to little noteworthy results in his Brood War days, he hit his prime right when StarCraft 2 came out. His record stands firm, as the only Foreigner to ever reach a round of 4 in the GSL, and not once but twice, a record that brought him the name that he had to date. A name that, although he himself might disagree, he had a very hard time living up to. Years went by, and with little to no results to speak of despite his prolonged stays in the oGs house in Korea, motivation dwindled with time. Like everyone Jinro had his ups and downs, eventually leading to him to continue gaming for another year back in 2011, but now his dream is well and truly over, as he explained in his final TL Blog.
More and more I found myself practicing just so that I could be sent to events, to meet the friends I could so rarely meet. I'd had a dream...and I had given it up. What I had left was a child's dream half-remembered, and in the back of my mind, I'd always been aware of how tenuous my drive was. For motivation, I was almost completely reliant on external events to drive me: going to Korea, winning MLG, qualifying for GSL, going far... Even during the beta, I had to force myself to play. I was running on the fumes of a dream that was no longer mine.
InControl once said that if you find yourself needing a reason to play other than the enjoyment of the game, then it is time you stop playing. I don't always agree with this -- there are many people for whom it's not true. I remember a NaDa interview from SC1, during which he talked about how he no longer enjoyed the game, and yet, you'd still see him post good results just a few months later.
But for me, it was true. I was running on empty, and while I was making pretty good money, I was no NaDa. The day after MLG Columbus 2012, I arrived in Vegas... and I realized I was done. IPL4 would be my last hurrah. I knew it was not a decision to be made lightly or at once, but I brought up the possibility with Victor. I would say that IPL was the last time I played anywhere near good, and I made it unexpectedly far (yet not far enough to be worthy of note).
Leaving e-Sports behind Jinro has now set his eyes on online poker, something that he had been interested in for some years after his friend Jelle/GroT learnt him the basics back in his Brood War days. Despite his diminishing presence on the scene in the last few years Jinro is a name not to be forgotten, as one of the most decorated Foreigners to grace StarCraft 2 up until now.
Team Liquid Owner Victor 'Nazgul' Goossens added:
As an avid sports fan, it has always pained me to see old greats continue for too long after their prime has passed. Though you can sense that there's a variety of reasons behind it, the end result usually isn't very glamorous.
I am really proud that Jinro was able to make this decision, even happy for him. During the past year, Jinro hasn't been able to find what he was looking for. By winning MLG Dallas and reaching back to back GSL semi-finals, he set a high standard for himself to be the best non-Korean in the world. After playing at that level once, it was tough for Jinro when the results just stopped coming, even though he was putting in the same kind of hours that allowed him to reach his peak. Everyone in our team, and even some of Jonathan's fans could feel that he wasn't happy playing the game anymore.