Seemiller - The American: 1978 US Open Final - Butterfly Table Tennis
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Seemiller – The American: 1978 US Open Final

Seemiller: The American

(by Steve Hopkins)

One of the most storied players in American table tennis history, Dan Seemiller.  He first qualified for the US Team in 1972, was the top ranked player in the country by 1974, won five US National Championships, and logged an amazing international record that at one point included completing two consecutive World Team Championships without losing a match.  Later in his career, he became a highly decorated and successful coach, a tournament promoter and director, an author, and he also served as President of USTTA.

The signature grip and style that bears his name is still referred to by many internationally as “the American grip”.  Seemiller is the quintessential “American” player – with emotion and grit and heart.

In February, as Dan was training for the Olympic Trials, he began posting memories to his Facebook page.  Over the next few weeks, we are going to share some of those photos and quotes in this series “Seemiller – The American”:

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This photo shows a forehand jump smash from the 1978 U.S. Open Men’s final in Oklahoma City.  My opponent, Norio Takashima from Japan was the world’s best defensive player and ranked No.3 in the world.
My big worry was my shoulder-more specifically my tricep muscle.  It was so sore I could not sleep the night before and could not lift my arm over my head.  Why?  So many defensive players I had to play in the teams, doubles, and singles events.  PBS and national TV were filming the final and I was so worried I would have to default. Takashima could embarrass me if I couldn’t loop.  I was down 2-1 in games but leading 19-18 in game 4.  We were both baiting each other to attack when I missed an easy push with my antispin.  I became a bit nervous and hurried the next point and ended up losing 21-19.
I was glad that I was able to play once the adrenaline kicked in but certainly disappointed.

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