How It Works:

Table tennis first developed in the late 1800s as an indoor version of lawn tennis. More than a century later, the Olympic competition features singles and team events for men and women.

All singles matches are best-of-seven games. A game is won by the first player scoring 11 points. If both opponents reach 10 points then the game is won by the first player to gain a lead of two points. Through both seeding and preliminary rounds, players are placed into a single elimination tournament, eventually leading to the semifinal winners playing for gold and silver and the semifinal losers playing for bronze.

Photo: The Canadian Press

Teams of three players each participate in team matches which are called contests. Each contest is best-of-five matches, consisting of four singles matches and one doubles match. Each singles and doubles match within the team competition are best-of-five games. The team competition is also run as a single elimination tournament. The winners of the two semifinals advance to play for gold while the semifinal losers play for bronze.

A table tennis table stands 76cm above the floor and is nearly three metres long and a metre and a half wide. The net over which the ball must travel is just over 15cm high.

Mo Zhang at the Rio 2016 North American Olympic qualifier (Photo: Table Tennis Canada).

Mo Zhang at the Rio 2016 North American Olympic qualifier (Photo: Table Tennis Canada).

Canada’s Olympic History (Pre-Rio 2016)

Although Canada has never won an Olympic medal in table tennis, a notable moment came from Johnny Huang at Atlanta 1996 where he placed fifth in the men’s singles, losing in the quarterfinals.