Look at table tennis at the Olympics and the first thing that comes to people's minds is the ping pong table that they or their friends had in the basement or the garage growing up. But at the Olympics, it's so much more intense. Those little white balls can be hit at speeds more than 60 mph and it takes a lot of quickness, agility and hand-eye coordination to make it to this level.
Singles matches are a best-of-seven games series. The winner of each game is the first one to 11, or whoever wins by two if both reach 11. Every two points scored, service switches to the other player. At 10-10, the serve changes after each point.
After three rounds to whittle the competitors down to 16, the competition switches to an elimination format.
In the team competition, there are four singles matches and one doubles match. Each match is a best-of-five series. There are three players per team. Team matches consist of four singles matches and one doubles match, each played over the best of five games. Each team consists of three players and matches end when a team has won three individual games. In doubles matches, players take turns to hit the ball. It will be an elimination format with 16 teams.
Mixed doubles makes its debut at the Tokyo Olympics. The matches are best-of-seven, with each game played to 11 points and win by two. It will be an elimination format with 16 teams.
The top players in the world tend to come from Asia and Europe.