Less than a year away from the Olympics, London is preparing for the media circus that inevitably accompanies such a globalized event. Locals are especially excited about hosting and hope that their nation’s best athletes will serve them well—- protecting the Mother Land, as they would say across the pond. Unquestionably, the English will look to medal in the three events that have been their best historically: athletics, rowing, and sailing. But as I’ve mentioned in earlier blog post, there is a strong desire to medal in table tennis in particular.
The reason for this dates back to 1880.
1880, Great Britain—- A couple upper-class elites were bored after a riveting dinner party. Buzzed off of wine and scotch, a few men decided they wanted to play a game. They began setting up a row of books along the center of the dinning room table. One man picked up a golf ball and a book (the original racquet—- no pimples), and proceeded to hit the golf ball over the net. And so, the game of table tennis was born, or as they called it then, “wiff-waff.”
As the inventors of the sport, the British feel a certain national pride behind ending the Asian domination of table tennis at next year’s Olympics. Drinkhall is one of many Brits behind the cause.
In light of the sport’s recent resurgence in the United Kingdom, David Goobold and Chris Craig began the Ping! Initiative, which aims to get more people involved in sport in the run up to the Olympics. In short, they’ve brought table tennis to the streets on London, outside of some of the nations largest business headquarters, in an effort to increase participation and interest. In total, they have set up nearly 100 ping-pong tables across London for the public to play on.