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The Facts Behind Table Tennis

January 9, 2008

With the U.S. Olympic & National Team Trials in Table Tennis set to begin at Drexel University in a few days, a list of fast facts about the world’s largest participation sport follow below:

• Table Tennis debuted as an Olympic sport in 1988 at the Seoul Games. • Athletes volley the ball at speeds of up to 160 km (99.4 miles) per hour. • Various compounds and glues are applied to the rackets and ball for greater speed. • The sport is played with rubber coated wooden and carbon-fibre rackets and a lightweight, hollow celluloid ball. • Some glues were banned from the Olympic competition because they make the ball travel up to 30 km (18.6 miles) per hour faster. • The ball used in table tennis has a diameter of 40 mm (1.5 inches). • Was introduced in 1890s in England as an after-dinner alternative to lawn tennis. • Began with cigar-box lids for rackets and a carved champagne cork for a ball. • Has become the world’s largest participation sport with 40 million competitive players worldwide and countless millions playing recreationally.

Participating in the Olympic Trials at Drexel are 24 of the top U.S. athletes including men’s top-ranked player Llija Lupulesku, who was the 1988 Olympic silver medalist in doubles for Yugoslavia. He is looking to earn his sixth-straight trip to the Olympic Games and the second as a U.S. citizen. On the women’s side the top-ranked athlete set to compete is four-time Olympian Jasna Reed. In 1988 and 1992, she competed for Yugoslavia and won the bronze medal in Seoul. She became a U.S. citizen in 1999 and competed for the U.S. Olympic Team in 2000 and 2004.

The 2008 U.S. Olympic & National Team Trials in table tennis will be held at Drexel from Jan. 10 to Jan. 13. The event, combined with the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in gymnastics coming to Philadelphia in June, makes Philadelphia one of only two U.S. cities to host two U.S. Olympic Trials events leading up to the 2008 Olympic Games.

Tickets are available for the 2008 U.S. Olympic & National Team Trials for table tennis. The event will be held at Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center (33rd and Market Streets). Tickets are limited and sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-866-4-DREXEL.


News Media Contact: Niki Gianakaris, Assistant Director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or John Tomish, Drexel Athletics, 215-895-2084 Danielle Cohn, 215-636-3320

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