Who Will Win Women’s Singles Gold in Rio? History Provides the Answer
Courtesy of ITTF
Who Will Win Women’s Singles Gold in Rio?
The question is posed as to who will win the Women’s Singles gold medal at the forthcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games; play commencing in Riocentro Pavilion 3 on Saturday August 6th.
If you know the answer to that question, you may also know the answer the question as to which player will leave the arena with two gold medals.
Only once in the history of table tennis being a part of the Olympic Games has the winner of the Women’s Singles title not left the host city was a two gold medals and even on that occasion it was close, it was gold and silver.
Seoul in 1988, the initiation for table tennis in the celebrated multi-sport spectacular, is the exception that proves the rule. In the Seoul National University Gymnasium, in an all Chinese Women’s Singles final, Chen Jing beat Li Huifen to secure the title but in partnership in the Women’s Doubles event, she had to settle for silver.
Partnering Jiao Zhimin, the duo experienced defeat at the hands of Korea’s Hyun Junghwa and Yang Youngja.
Again the Exception
Furthermore, Chen Jing, in one other respect is the exception.
All other Women’s Singles gold medalists at an Olympic Games, won the same title at the World Championships in either the preceding year or the immediately ensuing year.
Again just as with falling agonizingly short of winning two gold medals at an Olympic Games, it is a similar tale of frustration in the World Championships. In 1987 in New Delhi, she reached the quarterfinal stage. The year after her Olympic triumph in Seoul, in 1989 she advanced to the penultimate round in Dortmund.
However, Chen Jing has achieved what no other player has yet achieved and will not be achieved in Rio de Janeiro.
She is the only player to win a medal in the Women’s Singles event at an Olympic Games on three occasions. In addition to Seoul, in 1996, when representing Chinese Taipei, she was the silver medalist, in 2000 the bronze medalist.
Premise Rings True
Meanwhile, for the rest the equation reads true.
Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996 saw Deng Yaping win Women’s Singles gold; additionally in both she secured the Women’s Doubles title in partnership with Qiao Hong.
Notably in 1991 in Chiba, she won the Women’s Singles title at the World Championships, as she did later in both Tianjin in 1995 and in Manchester in 1997.
Next on the golden list came Wang Nan, winner of the Women’s Singles event at the World Championships in Eindhoven in 1999, a title she retained in 2001 in Osaka and in 2003 in Paris.
Sandwiched in between her successes in Eindhoven and Osaka, she won Women’s Singles gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, as well as the top prize in partnership with Li Ju in the Women’s Doubles event.
Mantle Passed Over
The reign of Wang Nan over, the mantle passed to Zhang Yining; she won Women’s Singles gold in Athens in 2004 and four years later in 2008 in Beijing.
In Athens she partnered Wang Nan to the Women’s Doubles title, in Beijing she lined up alongside Guo Yue and Wang Nan in the successful Chinese Women’s Team.
Pertinently, Zhang Yining won the Women’s Singles title 2005 and 2009 World Championships.
Won in London
Now most recently, Li Xiaoxia mounted the top step of the podium four years ago in London, before joining forces with Ding Ning and Guo Yue to win the Women’s Team title.
The following year in 2013 she won the Women’s Singles title at the Liebherr World Championships.
Success for Li Xiaoxia meant that she maintained Chinese hegemony in the event; also she joined Deng Yaping and Zhang Yining as the only two female players who have never lost a single match at an Olympic Games.
So following the theory that the Women’s Singles title an Olympic Games is won by the World champion of the year before or the year after, the question is answered.
We know the name of the winner in Rio de Janeiro, or the name of the winner at the 2017 World Championships!