San Francisco Table Tennis Athlete Going to Beijing

San Francisco 22-year-old local Jackie Lee just barely missed making it on the U.S. Women’s Olympic Table Tennis team making it as an alternate. However, the International Table Tennis Federation announced three weeks ago that it would allow teams to bring a fourth player as an alternate to Beijing. As you can imagine, Lee was ecstatic, as noted in “Second chance for China trip Ruling gives resident of S.F. a reprieve“:

“At 9 a.m. on June 24, still asleep, Lee got a call. “The national team coach was like, ‘Are you still sleeping?’ ” Lee said. “Then he told me, ‘Jackie, you’re going to the Olympics. Do you have a visa to go to China?’ ” “I was so shocked. My dad refused to accept it. He was like, ‘I won’t believe it until I see the plane ticket.’ ” Lee will suit up like her teammates, but won’t play unless a teammate is injured. It doesn’t matter to Lee. She’s going to Beijing.”

Hey, I’d be just as excited. A free trip to the Olympics and to say that you were an Olympian, even if you are an alternate.

Lee is also one of the very few native-country born table tennis Olympians to represent her country in table tennis at the Olympics. As I had previously blogged, internationally, table tennis is dominated by players born and trained in China. Nearly every international team has at least one China-born player on either the men’s or women’s side. Lee was born-and-raised in the United States (nothing against the Chinese – it’s just that China encourages table tennis as a sport like no other nation).

Again, congrats to Jackie Lee!

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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