When Did Table Tennis Become An Olympic Sport? The Fascinating History Behind It

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Table Tennis Becomes an Olympic Sport

The sport of table tennis has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until 1988 that it was officially recognized as an Olympic sport. Table tennis is a fast-paced and exciting game to watch, and many people all over the world enjoy watching both professional and recreational matches. The history of how this popular game became part of the Olympics is quite interesting.

History Of Table Tennis As An Olympic Sport

Table tennis began gaining popularity in the late 1800s when English soldiers brought it home from India, where they had witnessed locals playing a form of the game. It quickly spread across Europe and was soon being played competitively on public tables at parks throughout England and France. When World War I broke out. However, interest in the sport waned as other activities took precedence.

In 1926, after World War I ended, table tennis made its first appearance at the Olympics during a demonstration event held in London – though it did not become an official medal event until more than sixty years later! In 1957, table tennis was officially recognized by ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation), which allowed for international competitions between countries such as China and Japan, who have since dominated the sport ever since their emergence on to the international scene in 1961-62.

Olympic Recognition For Table Tennis

Table tennis received recognition as an Olympic sport in 1987 when it was added to the Summer Olympic Games along with four other new sports. These games were held in Seoul, Korea two years later. Table tennis became one of the four indoor events alongside badminton, judo and weightlifting. Since then, table tennis has become an integral part of the Olympic Games, with some iconic moments like Chinese player Deng Yaping’s gold medal win at Atlanta 1996. Deng Yaping’s performance made her one of China’s most beloved athletes, inspiring millions around the world to take up this much-loved pastime themselves.


Table Tennis has come a long way since its humble beginnings centuries ago when English soldiers first brought it back from India. After gaining popularity throughout Europe following World War I before eventually being accepted into The Summer Olympics nearly sixty years later – where its presence continues to be felt thanks to countries like China & Japan strongly dominating proceedings ever since their breakthrough onto the international stage!