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Paddle Pushers

May 26, 2014
May 26, 2014

Table of Contents
May 26, 2014

SI.com
THE MAIL
JONATHAN TOEWS
  • WITH TWO STANLEY CUPS AND TWO OLYMPIC GOLDS IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS, THE BLACKHAWKS' JONATHAN TOEWS ALREADY HAS THE TITLE OF NHL'S BEST CAPTAIN LOCKED UP. NOW IT'S TIME TO START THINKING OF HIM AS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD

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Paddle Pushers

Table tennis is having a moment

When Ping Pong Summer hits theaters and VOD on June 6, the indie flick—a paean to the 1980s starring Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson and Amy Sedaris—will represent a cultural apex for a pastime that has spent a good part of its U.S. existence locked in a suburban basement. But table tennis's rise to almost-hip status did not happen quickly. It is the result of a 30-year climb to semivisibility.

This is an article from the May 26, 2014 issue Original Layout

1985

First NBA draft lottery raises Ping-Pong balls in the sports consciousness

2000

Ball grows to 40 mm so it shows up better on TV

1988

Debuts as official Olympic sport

2004

Table tennis fifth most watched sport on TV coverage of Athens Olympics

1992

Sweden's Jan-Ove Waldner, world and Olympic champ, is reportedly the first to earn $1 million

2007

Balls of Fury, starring Christopher Walken and George Lopez, released

1994

Forrest Gump, Ping-Pong diplomat

2009

Sarandon and partners open first of four Ping-Pong clubs, called SPiN

1996

ITTF World Tour debuts; scalping not an issue

2014

New York City makes table tennis an official varsity sport

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

J.T. Granato, three-star quarterback at Kinkaid (Texas) School and feline enthusiast, committed to Rice after the Owls' offensive coordinator sent a handwritten recruiting letter to his cat.

PHOTOGETTY IMAGES (PADDLE)PHOTOIMAGE SOURCE/GETTY IMAGES (BALLS)PHOTOPARAMOUNT PICTURES/EVERETT COLLECTION (FORREST GUMP)PHOTOTONY CORDOZA/GETTY IMAGES (TV)PHOTOROGUE PICTURES/EVERETT COLLECTION (BALLS OF FURY)PHOTO@JTGRANATO10/TWITTER.COM (GRANATO)