Teen table tennis phenom headed for Olympics
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Ariel Hsing is a table tennis phenom. She proved it last year when she became the youngest woman in U.S. history to win the national table tennis championship.
Two weeks ago the 16-year-old high school junior from San Jose accomplished yet another goal. She qualified for the U.S. Olympic team.
"I'm going to the London 2012 Olympics so I'm really excited for that," she said.
Ariel is one of only two members on the U.S. team. She made the team by defeating a woman twice her age at the trials.
She was so focused in the finals, she didn't realize she'd won.
"You just play one point at a time so when I actually did win, I wasn't 100 percent sure I had won," she said. "So the first thing I did was check the scoreboard to make sure I won."
Her parents still can't believe it.
"It has been her dream. We were not sure it would ever come true or not. Now we still have a hard time believing it," Michael Hsing, Ariel's father, said.
When Ariel was 8 years old, she wrote down her goal of being an Olympian on a piece of paper and put it in a box.
"For eight years I did not open this piece of paper. I convinced myself that if I opened it, my wish would not come true. So I still have the box today, so now I can open it," she said.
The pressure is off now that she's made the Olympic team.
"I think she's going to probably play with a little more joy and abandon than she normally does. She's hit one of her major goals at this age, and I think she'll go out and swing it," said Dennis Davis, Ariel's coach.
China dominates the sport, but Ariel's faced the Chinese in the world championships.
"That was a really fun experience. I got my butt kicked but it was fun though," she said.
Ariel plans on enjoying the Olympic experience.
"I'm really excited to meet other players from different sports, make some new friendships. I'd love to meet Michael Phelps, but who wouldn't right?" she said.
She's also being realistic about winning a medal.
"My motto there is even if there's just a 1 percent chance, I'll still put in 100 percent effort," she said.
san jose, sports, mike shumann
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