Every four years, we watch. We marvel at badminton, wonder about the modern decathlon and proudly pause for synchronized swimming. With more than 300 gold medals awarded across 37 disciplines, the next two weeks of our lives should be impressively unproductive. To aid in your immersion, we introduce the first installment of “know your Olympic sport.” It’s part reminder that people actually get medals for this stuff (see: trampoline gymnastics) and part introduction to the science behind the sports.
As a tribute to the recently lit flame in Beijing, our first installment focuses on the pride of China: Table Tennis (a.k.a. Ping Pong). Inside you’ll find a 30-year old performance enhancer in its final days, a training method built for Forrest Gump and all (perhaps even more than) you'll ever need to know about Ping Pong balls.