LONDON (AP) China delivered one of its most pressure-packed gold medals of the London Olympics on Wednesday, completing the sweep of all four table tennis titles with a 3-0 victory over South Korea in the men's team final.
The sweep was expected, and anything less could have prompted shakeups in the government bureaucracy that oversees the sport. Table tennis is a source of national pride in China, with some jokingly calling it "China ball."
China has won 24 of 28 gold medals since the sport entered the Olympic program in 1988. The Asians won two gold and two silvers in singles at the London Games. They could have won more, but nations this time were limited to two singles players instead of three.
Back in 1800's England, table tennis was a social game played on dining room tables. In 2012 London, it will be one of the most fast-paced and entertaining events at the Summer Games. Yet a sport that actually had to be slowed down - play was so quick that the size of the ball had to be increased so people could see it - has had little effect on China's long-standing dominance. Explore this and other unique dynamics of an exercise in reflexes that is always an Olympic crowd-pleaser.