One player serves until 5 points have been scored, after
which the opponent serves for the next 5 points. A
game is won by the player who first scores 21 points.
If, however, the score is tied at 20, play continues
until one player gains a 2-point advantage, with the
service changing after each point. A match consists
of three games out of five.
Table tennis involves hitting a small celluloid
ball back and forth over a net until one
of the players misses the ball, hits it
into the net, or hits it off the table.
In each of these cases, the opponent scores a point.
To serve, a player holds the ball on the flat, open palm
of the hand, then throws it up and strikes it as it falls.
The served ball must first hit the table on the server’s
side of the net, then bounce to the other side of the
net, hitting the table before being returned by the other
player. When a serve touches the net but is otherwise
a good serve, it is called a “let” and replayed.
Players rotate ends after every game and when one player
reaches 10 in the deciding game of the match. Balls in
play that touch either the net or the table edge are
valid shots. When, in the opinion of the umpire, a ball
hits the side of the table rather than the edge, the
player who made the shot loses the point. In doubles
play, service must be from the right-hand court into
the opponent’s right-hand court, and partners must
alternate hitting the ball. The sequence of one specific
partner hitting to one specific opponent must be changed
after each game and when one side reaches 10 in the deciding
game of the match.
and Fast Facts
General Sports Links
Olympians will compete in dozens of sports this summer. Even though Gateway
to the Summer Games can't feature them all, you can learn about each and
every one by visiting the sites listed below.