After making its Olympic debut in 1988, the United States table tennis team will be hoping to finally make it onto the medal stand this summer in Rio.
Although China is the heavy favourite after winning all four gold medals at the London 2012 and Beijing 2008 Games, the United States has a chance to surprise the field with individual and team podium results.
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US Olympic Table Tennis Team 2016
A gold medal victory in women’s singles at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto qualified Yue “Jennifer” Wu as one of the first American athletes to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Lily Zhang will be working alongside Wu on the women’s squad. The 20-year-old California native is now ranked number one in the world in women’s table tennis and is one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport in the United States.
She won bronze at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, making history as the first American table tennis player to medal at an Olympic competition.
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Now she hopes to repeat that feat by being the first U.S. athlete to win an Olympic medal in her sport.
On the final day of competition at the North American Olympic Qualification Tournament in Markham, Ontario, Jiaqi Zheng, the 2015 U.S. women’s table tennis national champion, earned the third and final roster position available to U.S. table tennis women to compete in the Rio Games.
With her participation limited to the team competition, the United States women’s trio that took gold in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto will be back together again.
After winning the Pan American Games in 2015, the U.S. women’s team has its sights set on making it to the medal round in the 16-team Olympic competition.
U.S. Male Representatives Are Yijun Feng, Kanak Jha, And Timothy Wang.
To qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Feng won the men’s singles competition at the 2015 U.S. National Championships.
Meanwhile, Jha and Wang are coming back to wear the red, white, and blue after finishing in the top 20 in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
Jha, at age 16, is the youngest ever competitor in an ITTF World Cup and the youngest member of any U.S. Olympic team.
An athlete’s seed in the Olympic table tennis tournament is determined by his or her position in the world ranking at the time of the tournament’s start.
Games are played on a single-elimination basis, with the bronze medals going to the teams that finished third or below in the semifinals. Whenever the score is tied at 10-10, the serve is switched. When playing doubles, each player gets a chance at the rebound.
Jha, who is only 16, is one of the best table tennis players for Team USA. He was the North America Cup champion in 2014. A few months later, he made history by becoming the youngest player to ever compete in a world cup.
When the 2015 Pan American Games were held, Jha was selected to participate. On the last day of the three-day Olympic Trials, Jha triumphed over 2014 Youth Olympian Krishnateja Avvari.
Wang, 24, was the only male table tennis player on Team USA at the London 2012 Olympics. He was eliminated in the first round of competition.
He has competed in the last four global championships, won the national championships in 2012 and 2013, and placed ninth in men’s singles at the 2015 Pan American Games.
He just uprooted to Atlanta to learn from Corey Bridges, an ex-NFL player.
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Confidentiality is Assured With Lily Zhang
When Zhang earned bronze at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, she made history as the first U.S. table tennis athlete to win a medal at the Youth Olympic Games.
Now she hopes to repeat that feat by being the first U.S. athlete to win an Olympic medal in her sport. She is the first and only American athlete to compete in an Olympic Games prior to a Youth Olympic Games, having done so in London 2012.