Timothy Wang goes for the gold


Timothy Wang playing a game of table tennis with superintendent H.D Chambers

When he was a freshman, Timothy Wang used to play table tennis every Thursday after school with the Table Tennis Club.

“He was always heads and shoulders above everybody else,” social studies teacher Rick Madsen said. But even Madsen, the club sponsor, probably never anticipated that Wang would be an Olympic athlete.

Even before Wang could see over the ping-pong table, he said in an email interview, his mother would let him sit on the table as he hit the ball back and forth with his dad. His whole family would play as family when Wang was a child. His two older brothers were also good table tennis players, but didn’t have the same passion as he did.

He entered a variety of competitions as a child, eventually deciding in 2007 to train full-time. He left Kerr and began training for national and international contests. When he was 17, he won the Junior National Championships for table tennis; the following year he won the  Men’s U.S. National Championship, then the regular and mixed doubles in 2011, qualifying for the the semi-finals the same year.

Wang received coaching from his father and two older brothers. He still calls Houston his hometown, but he has a coach stationed in both Houston and California.

“Leading up to the Olympic Games, my training consisted of three to four hours a day, seven days a week on the table, and one hour a day in the gym five days a week,” Wang said.

Wang was the only male table tennis player to represent the U.S. at the 2012 London Olympics. He qualified by beating hundreds of players from both the United States and Canada. His first match pitted him against North Korean Kim Song Nam, and Wang lost.

Despite the defeat, Wang said he enjoyed the chance to be part of the Olympics and be with other international athletes in the Olympic Village. An experience he will never forget was when he saw Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

“I immediately jumped up in shock and yelled for my teammates to look back,” Wang said. “It was a little embarrassing because they looked at me like I was kind of crazy but I couldn’t help myself. They’re the two best swimmers of all time.”

Now that Wang has accomplished his dream of becoming an Olympian, the next step is to be one of the world’s top 200 tennis players. Wang is currently ranked 408, but at the age of 21, he has more accomplishments to come.

“After coming back from London, my eyes have really been opened to what it is really like to play at the highest level,” he said. “It has motivated me to train harder and hopefully by 2016 I will be ready to compete with the best of the best.”

On a visit to Kerr last May, Timothy Wang plays a quick match against Alief ISD superintendent HD Chambers.