MODERN OLYMPICS ERA

After a long and winding road of nearly 50 years, Table Tennis joined the Olympic movement, first appearing in the Summer program in Seoul 1988. This infused not only great prestige for our sport, but also a major source of funding, as the Olympic profits were shared among the participating sports. The money helped each sport to invest in training & development programs and to improve their tournaments and infrastructure.

Technology continued to influence the sport, especially with the development of more sophisticated rubber surfaces. This era also saw the technique known as 'speed gluing' becoming widespread, in which the players re-applied a layer of specially designed glue under the rubber sheet, causing the sponge to become more elastic, resulting in livlier speed. This process became controverial because of the volatile organic compounds (VOC) and was eventually banned.

Major rules changes also occurred in this era, including the 11-point game and the 40mm ball. Olympic medalists became heroes in their countries and around the world. Many superstars emerged during this era, not only the Chinese, who have won 28 of 32 Olympic Gold medals, but also a Swedish juggernaut, headed by the brilliant Jan-Ove Waldner, Mikail Appelgren, and Jorgen Persson. After a brief interruption and a few big upsets, the Chinese continue to dominate the sport, both men and women.

Click on the player's name or photo to see a summary of their careers. This era also includes video clips of the players in action!

Timo Boll GER

Chuang Chih-Yuan TPE

DENG Yaping CHN

DING Ning CHN

FAN Zhendong CHN

Ai Fukuhara JPN

J-F Gatien FRA

GUO Yue CHN

Hyun Jung Hwa KOR

JOO Saehyuk KOR

KIM Taek Soo KOR

KONG Linghui CHN

Kalinikos Kreanga GRE

LI Gun Sang PRK

LI Xiaoxia CHN

Erik Lindh SWE

LIU Shiwen CHN

LIU Guoliang CHN

MA Lin CHN

MA Long CHN

Kenta Matsudaira JPN

Michael Maze DEN

Jun Mizutani JPN

Dimitrij Ovtcharov GER

Jörgen Persson SWE

Zoran Primorac CRO

Jürg Rosskopf GER

RYU Seung Min KOR

J-M Saive BEL

Vladimir Samsonov BLR

Werner Schlager AUT

Jan-Ove Waldner SWE

WANG Hao CHN

WANG Liqin CHN

WANG Nan CHN

WANG Tao CHN

XU Xin CHN

YOO Nam Kyu KOR

ZHANG Jike CHN

ZHANG Yining CHN

ZHU Yuling CHN