Disclaimer: Due to aggressive copyright bots roaming the internet, I’m not sure how long these videos will stay up. In some cases, I’ve included hyperlinked stills from vids that I was able to find online, and in other cases, I’ve embedded my own recordings.
Day 7: Thursday, July 29, 2021:
TABLE TENNIS (TT): WOMEN’S SINGLES FINALS
Bronze medal match: ITO Mima (JPN) vs. YU Mengyu (SGP)
>At the start of the game, players inspect each others’ paddles/racquets, because racquet material affects the delivery and efficacy of certain strokes. For example, Ito uses a racquet with short pips (the lego-like bumps on the one side of a paddle), whereas Yu uses a paddle with a hard, tacky kind of Chinese rubber. So cool!:
>There’s an episode of We Bare Bears, where the three bears and their friend Chloe eat a whole vending machine of chocolate, and they get a sugar rush that puts them in hyperdrive, and for them, it feels like time has distended, yet they’re able to still do things at speeds that feel normal to them:
That is these table tennis players.
>This sport is so much about strategy & pattern & observation & timing, that I just know Ito’s coach’s notebook contains secrets to the universe.
>This sport is also about deception 😈 Because if you can switch things up and throw off your opponent’s judgement or expectations for a split second as to where or how you’re going to serve the ball, that could be enough for you to win the rally. Mima is good at this and does it with great style!
>It’s worth mentioning that in the broadcast I am reporting from (which oddly is different from what NBC put on YouTube) the commentator is former pro tennis player Adam Bobrow, and he actually breaks things down and doesn’t just repeat the same 2 obvious observations over and over. Does he seem like he’d be one of those non-Asian, usually white, guys at a party who wants to practice his atonal Mandarin with you? …Yes. But you can’t deny his respect and love for the sport.
>Mima Ito wins! Maybe I should want Yu to win, because of the China-Japan rivalry, but eff nationalism, Mima is it. Also, we are both very short, and we both have stocky legs, and that is the kind of representation I needed as a pimply—or shall I say…pip-ly…—child growing up.
Gold/Silver medal match: CHEN Meng (CHN) vs SUN Yingsha (CHN)
>China vs. China, baby, who gon win??
>When Destiny’s Child asked, “Can you keep up? Baby boy, make me lose my breath / Bring the noise, make me lose my breath / Hit me hard, make me lose my huh-ss huh-ss,” they were actually talking about ping pong.
>Did you know tt players blow on their hands to cool off their palms to aid their grip, and also there is a sweat squad to wipe sweat drops off the table, because, in terms of physics, water is known to make things slippery? This is truly a sport of precision, subtlety, and minute adjustments. And you wonder why the general American public can’t get with it. 🌝
>i. can. NOT!!!!!:
>In addition to its dedication to Sport, the Olympics are also dedicated to Gender Binary. According to Bobrow, where TT women’s games tend to focus more on speed, efficiency, and patterns; in men’s games, there tends to be more emphasis on strength, and you see players stand farther back from the table. However, that’s clearly an overgeneralization.
>China wins!! Congrats to Chen Meng, whose given name means “Dream” ^_^ Excited to see how Sun Yingsha, who’s only 20, continues to grow.
In conclusion of the WOMEN’S SINGLES TABLE TENNIS FINALS:
GOLD: CHEN Meng 陈梦 China (CHN)
SILVER: SUN YingSha 孙颖莎 China (CHN)
BRONZE: ITO Mima 伊藤 美誠, Japan (JPN)
RUNNER-UP: YU MengYu 于梦雨, Singapore (SGP)
Terms learned: oystershell reveal, tomahawk serve, tomahawk chop block, chop block, pendulum serve, shovel serve, banana flick, banana receive, mima smash, mima punch (where the 1st ball is spinny and the 2nd ball is flat & fast), the strawberry, under-spin, side-spin, third ball attack, lob, snake, inside out forehand, pancake flip, short pips, sweat squad, cryochamber