(by Steve Hopkins, photo by ITTF World)
Obviously, China’s results speak for themselves and are the top storyline of the Olympics. Of five events, China took Gold in 4 (and Silver in the 5th). In the two events where two Chinese entrants were allowed, China took both spots in the Finals and claimed both Gold and Silver. Out of 15 total medals, the maximum number China could have won was 7 (and, yes, they won 7 medals). China left Tokyo with 4 Golds and 3 Silvers – and across all Chinese entrants, only one loss to an entrant from another country (the Mixed Doubles loss to Japan in the Finals).
In regard to China versus China – the biggest surprise may have been Ma Long topping Fan Zhendong 4-2 in the Men’s Singles Final. In recent years, there has been an apparent changing of the guard with Fan Zhendong dominating tour events and Ma Long fading slightly – but when you look careful at their head-to-head results, Ma Long has 3 wins for each of Fan’s (21-7 before the Olympics). There was no surprise in the Women’s Singles event as the top seed breezed through the early rounds and then topped second seeded Sun Yingsha 4-2. One interesting footnote, of the six Chinese players – all earned two medals except for Wang Manyu (1 medal in Teams) and Sun Yingsha (who won three medals: Mixed Silver, Singles Silver, and Teams Gold). In fact, Sun Yingsha and Japan’s Mima Ito were the only players to win three medals this year.
The other 8 medals were as follows: Dimitrij Ovtcharov won Bronze in Men’s Singles, Mima Ito won Bronze in Women’s Singles, Mizutani and Ito won Gold in Mixed Doubles and Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching won Bronze in Mixed Doubles, Germany took the Silver and Japan took Bronze in Men’s Teams, and Japan took Silver and Hong Kong took Bronze in Women’s Teams. By Country, that is Japan with 3 medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Germany with 2 medals (Silver and Bronze), Taipei with one medal (Bronze), and Hong Kong with one medal (Bronze).
The biggest names in the sport each left with some success. Dimitrij Ovtcharov landed two medals. Germany’s other two players (Timo Boll and Patrick Franzisca) each landed one medal in the Teams. For Japan, Mizutani ended with a Gold and a Bronze and his teammates Koki Niwa and Tomokazu Mizutani both secured a medal in the Teams. Lin Yun-Ju managed to land a medal in Mixed Doubles. On the Women’s side, Mima Ito landed a Gold, a Silver, and a Bronze – and her Japanese teammates Ishikawa and Hiranu each secured a Silver in the Teams. Hong Kong’s Team of Lee, Doo, and Soo each scored a Bronze in the Teams. And Cheng I-Ching landed the Bronze in Mixed Doubles. When you include the six Chinese players who each took home medals (Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong, Ma Long, Chen Meng, Wang Manyu, and Sun Yingsha) and that’s a lot of star power leaving Tokyo with medals in hand.
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