Table Tennis: Tennis’ Little Bro

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The world of table tennis is a lot more surprising than you might imagine. What started off as light entertainment after dinner became an Olympic sport and one of the most popular spots in all of China, a country of more than a billion people.

There’s a lot that people don’t know about this strange and elusive sport. Here’s some info on table tennis: tennis’ little bro.

Table Tennis Is Used To Study Avalanches

pasted image 0 59Pixabay

You might not think that a sport like table tennis would have any scientific applications, but it turns out it does. Back in the 1970s, scientists in Japan were still trying to figure out how avalanche dynamics worked. They weren’t sure exactly how they behaved, and they wanted to understand more about it before the 1972 Winter Olympics being held at the Japanese resort of Miyanomori. As a result, scientists embarked on an experiment, releasing more than 550,000 ping pong balls down the mountainside to see what would happen. It turned out that the results were useful, providing them with valuable information to keep spectators safe.

Table Tennis Wasn’t Always About Spin

In tennis, spin is necessary. It’s how players win service games and plays a major role in deceiving your opponent and preventing them from making winners. But spin in table tennis wasn’t always a part of a game. It’s hard to imagine now, but back in the 1950s table tennis racquets were all wood. There was no soft, rubber mat on the surface of the paddle and that meant that there wasn’t much of a surface to help the ball to spin. Rallies in the old days were won by brute force, and they could go on for minutes.

The History Of The Ping Pong Ball

Table tennis hire was a little different back in 1900 compared to what it is like today. Back then, you would have gotten a cork ball if you were lucky. If you were unlucky, you’d have used a rubber ball, making the game lightning fast.

But by the 1920s, manufacturers perfected the art of the celluloid ball – something that looks very similar to the modern ball used today. Once the International Table Tennis Federation saw how good the new balls were, they started making up rules about them, such as they had to have a diameter of 40 mm. Since 2000, the size of ping pong balls has actually increased in an attempt to slow down the game.

Ping Pong Stopped A War

Ping Pong is one of those rare sports, like golf, which transcends sport and becomes a crucial part of international relations. Back in the early 1970s, there was a diplomatic mission by fifteen American ping pong players to the country. Back then, China was completely shut off to the outside world, thanks to Mao, and so these American players were the only real contact many people had to the outside world.

pasted image 0 58Flickr

The players wound up playing a bunch of exhibition matches which proved important for relations between China and the US. Ultimately, the mission became known as ping-pong diplomacy and has gone down in history ever since.

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