This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 at 7:16 pm and is filed under Misc. Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Most definitely not David Zhuang.

So, the Olympics are almost upon us and what with the Games being held in Beijing and all I can’t help but obsess about the Ping Pong event. I’m expecting the Chinese to pull out all the stops for this one. Table Tennis has never been my sport, actually I think I enjoy it more now than I ever did as a kid. I love smacking the balls as hard as I can right at my opponent’s face. I was never as organized about it as these kids.

From what I’ve read the Chinese are heavily favored to kick global butt in Ping Pong this month. We are the underdogs by a mile and there’s nothing I like more than rooting for the underdog.

In the men’s bracket our hopes for the gold rest in the hands of David Zhuang. He’s been playing Ping Pong professionally since he was twelve (which was in 1975). That’s right, he’s forty-five and he’s all alone representing America, Freedom, and all things Red, White and Blue. Forty-Five in Table Tennis is not the big deal we all think it is. Zhuang won the National Championships in 2006 and Sports Illustrated has him ranked #4. Seems like table tennis has been a way of life for this guy. He grew up in China and was put in one of those freaky Olympic training centers that China has – you know: the ones on TV where you see little kids training night and day with crazy intensity because somehow the Chinese government has determined that this little child is destined to represent the Chinese Empire. How would you feel if you spent your entire childhood working on Synchronized Swimming? Destined for therapy I would think. Anyway, Zhuang went to one of those schools/prisons for Ping Pong and hasn’t put down the paddle since. Now, he makes his third appearance representing democracy on the Olympic Table Tennis… er… table. The last two times things didn’t go so well. I’m hoping the third time’s the charm and Zhuang shocks the world. It would be like the Miracle on Ice except much warmer and hopefully this time the coverage on TV won’t switch to another event right before the end.

In the women’s bracket, Gao Jun brings some much needed muscle to the table. She’s the only American to ever make it out of the Table Tennis prelim’s in the Olympics (2004). I’m hoping she builds upon her past success and takes it to the next level. By the next level I mean the highest level, the one with a gold medal around it’s neck and a huge smile on its face as it basks in Olympic glory. Gao Jun also grew up playing Ping Pong in a Chinese Ping Pong training institution since a very early age. As a representative of China, she’s already won a gold medal for doubles in the World Championships (1991). Now, wrapped in a cloak of Red, White and Blue she’s got to at least give the Chinese some butterflies.

The Chinese love Table Tennis. Their athletes are under intense pressure to win the Gold. Will they rise to the occasion and smack a 120 mph top spin forehand to win? Or, will one of our Chinese-trained Americans foil the Chinese plan for Nationalism through sport? The balls drop August 15th.

There are currently 2 responses to “Olympics + Beijing = Ping Pong Madness”

Hot Stove New York uses Gravatars — short for Globally Recognized Avatars — for the pictures that show up next to comments.

  1. 1 On August 6th, 2008, Jeff Freier said:

    I think I have ping pong fever now. Bring it on.

  2. 2 On August 11th, 2008, Coco said:

    Hey,

    Ping pong madness, when did you get into this? Thanks for the information about the Olmpic contestants, it was informative and fun.

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