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How popular is Ping Pong in the world?

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2009-05-04 05:53:47
2009-05-04 05:53:47

Table tennis, also known as Ping Pong (a trademarked name), is one of the most popular sports in the world in terms of player numbers, as well as being one of the newest of the major sports. Primarily a recreational sport in the United States, table tennis is a major competitive sport in Asia and parts of Europe. In 1971 the sport achieved a great measure of publicity when, while touring Japan, a U.S. table tennis team was invited to play in China, thereby initiating the first officially sanctioned Sino-American cultural exchange in almost twenty years. Table tennis took its place on the Olympic program in 1988. Ping-pong is the most popular in China and some countries in Europe. Table Tennis is the second most popular participation short in the world next to Soccer. Definitively determining what sport is most popular is next to impossible. In many countries, people like several sports. For example, in the US, if you ask what the most popular sport is to a given person, they may say football or basketball. How do partition their preference? Do you count each as equal, or say count 70% of a vote for football, 30% for soccer? If you argue that you take only their most favorite, then some interesting consequences arise. For example: The population of China is over 1.3 billion people, or 1300 million. As noted in other answers, ping-pong is the most popular sport in this nation. If you make the assumption that in ALL of Europe, soccer is the most popular, then you could attribute about 700 million people to that sport. If you make the same assumption for South America, the other large soccer hub, then another 350 million soccer fans can be counted. Added together, this is about 1.1 billion or 1100 million fans….less than the population of China. This disparity only gets smaller when you survey other Asian countries, which rank among the most populous by far, since they either also chose ping pong, or other sports entirely (baseball, cricket). When viewed analytically, it is very hard to justify the often used statement that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It is in fact ping-pong! This statement is made is generally unchallenged since the echoes of European imperialism still haunt us all, and many still take a very Euro-centric view of the world. To them, if it is not the rage in England, France, or Germany, it is not happening. However, the world is more than Europe, and Asia does matter, which is becoming increasingly more pronounced as we move into the twenty-first century.

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