Despite applications being made some twenty years ago, here we were in the 1950s and no table tennis as an Olympic sport. But in the 1954 Annual General Meeting of the ITTF once again discussed the issue of including table tennis in the Olympics. At the request of the Swiss Association, the ITTF decided to seek further information and report back later.
However in 1957, following behind-the-scenes discussions, it was evident that it was not the right time for seeking inclusion within the Olympic Games and the matter was once again shelved. Sigh! It was to be another ten years before the issue was raised again …
In 1967 the French Association proposed that the ITTF once again investigate the possibility of affiliating to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and it was agreed that further information would be sought. These investigations continued throughout the rest of the decade. Slow… so slow…. tempting to take your eye off the ball…
By 1971 it was clear that the ITTF constitution would prohibit any recognition by the IOC because it did not declare that it was an amateur body. In 1973 the IOC informed the ITTF that if the ITTF amended their constitution to include a reference to amateur status, recognition would be possible.
This prompted further discussions about the amateur or professional status of players. By 1975 the IOC had also set up a special committee to examine sports which were not in the olympics. At their Biennial General Meeting in March 1977, the ITTF discussed the issue once again.
By that time they had already submitted an application to the IOC for formal recognition as an olympic sport, and were informed that they would receive a response by June of that year … and that it was likely to be refused.
The ITTF therefore decided to withdraw their application, amend their constitution to include references to amateur and professional status, and then reapply.
In 1979, the required wording was agreed for insertion into the ITTF constitution, and the organising committee of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles wrote to the ITTF enquiring about the possibility of including table tennis as a demonstration sport in 1984.
With the definition of amateur and professional status being agreed and incorporated into the ITTF’s constitution, 1981 saw the IOC vote table tennis into the Olympic Games. Hurrah! At Last!
Although table tennis never appeared at the Olympics as a demonstration sport, by 1985, discussions were taking place about how table tennis would make its debut in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.
And it did! Olympic Table Tennis had begun!
Canada’s Joe Ng competing in the table tennis event at the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul.