The game of ping pong (or table tennis) is popular among people of all ages and skill levels, from beginners in the basement to Olympic competitors!

The game actually has an interesting history, and with so many people playing all over the world, plenty of interesting little factoids are available.

Let’s look at a few fun facts about ping pong!

1. Global Competition

Ping Pong has been an Olympic sport since 1988. There are divisions for both men and women to compete in singles events or team events. China remains the dominant country in these events, with a total of 53 medals since the event was introduced!

2. It Was Invented by The British

As the story goes, British aristocrats were playing lawn tennis when a storm rolled in. They moved the game indoors, and set up a makeshift using cigar box lids for racquets and stacks of books for a net. They had a wonderful time with their new game, word spread, and thus, table tennis was born!

3. “Ping Pong” Was a Trademarked Name

An English sporting goods manufacturer named John Jacques patented the game in 1901, laying out the rules and selling equipment for a game he originally called “Gossima.” Competitors quickly followed suit, branding and selling similar games called “Whiff-Whaff” and “Flim Flam”

Jacques rebranded the game as “Ping Pong” and it quickly gained popularity. After selling the name and rights to Parker Brothers, other companies were forced to use other names. Associations formed around both popular names, Ping Pong and table tennis. Today, the terms are synonymous.

4. High Speeds

Professional ping pong players can serve the ball upwards of 100 miles per hour! In 1993, two players set a world record, hitting a ping pong ball back and forth a staggering 173 times in just one minute. In fact, officials have made efforts to reduce the game’s speed. In 2000, the standard size of a ping pong ball was increased in an effort to reduce speed and spin!

Ping pong has a long history, and has grown into a massive industry of professional players and fierce competition. No matter how serious some people may be, though, it’s still the same fun game the British played in their parlors more than a century ago!

Contact Emerald Leisure Source in Grand Rapids for everything you need to get a game of ping pong started!