1. In the late 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, the game was called in a lot of different ways: “whiff-whaff”, “film flam” or “gossamer” are a few of these names.
2. The name “Ping Pong” was registered as a trademark of the Parker Brothers at the beginning of the 20th century. After claiming money for trademark ownership rights from the USA table tennis league, the league decided to change the name of the sport into table tennis.
3. Although Switzerland hasn’t produced too many table tennis world champions in the history of the game, the internationally recognized table tennis body, ITTF, is a Swiss-based organization.
4. A couple of decades ago, before equipment started to be regulated by ITTF rules, all sorts of strange fabrics were being used for rackets and balls. Back in the days, it was no surprise to find 5-inch thick sponges and corkscrews being used as balls. Also, it was common for bats to be covered in sandpaper, cloth or leather and sometimes blades were made from pure, uncovered wood or cardboard.
5. “Ping Pong Diplomacy” refers to the role this game has had during the Cold War. Table Tennis had a major impact in the Cold War, as far as the relations between China and the USA are concerned. In 1971, the first American citizens to enter China since the communist takeover in 1949 were a US table tennis team. They had been invited to play a game in China. This match was about to become a decisive event in the political relations between the two countries. In 1975, another team was invited to play, this time in mainland China, crossing the bridge between Hong Kong and the Asian continent. Shortly after this event, President Nixon traveled to China, opening the door to a new political era.
6. Playing table tennis was forbidden in the USSR between 1920 the 1950, because of common belief that the sport harms the eyes.
7. The game of table tennis first entered the Olympics in 1988, at the Summer Games in Seoul.
8. Contrary to popular belief, table tennis balls are empty and do not contain any sort of special pressurized gas. The particular smell which can come when breaking a ball comes from the smell of air trapped to long inside a plastic container.
9. The official table tennis rules of ITTF state that players are to wear socks at all times.
10. Elite players can propel the ball with up to 100 mph speed.
11. Ever since the discovery of speed glue, in the 60s, table tennis became very fast-paced. As a result, the game started to be almost impossible to watch on TV. After demands to slow down the game, ITTF introduced new standards in 2000. The size of the ball was increased from 38 mm to 40mm, in order to increase the air resistance.
12. Also, to make the game shorter and more enjoyable to watch, the standard 21-point format was reduced to 11-point format.