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Five For Friday: Table Tennis

By Paul D. Bowker | April 08, 2016, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

Lily Zhang plays a shot at the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on Aug. 3, 2012 in London.


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Lily Zhang, a 2012 Olympian who won a bronze medal at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, is one of eight U.S. athletes competing this week in the North America Olympic Qualification Tournament in Markham, Ontario.

As many as two U.S. men and one U.S. woman can lock down berths for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. Yue “Jennifer” Wu has already qualified for Rio after winning the 2015 Pan American Games.

Zhang, the first American to medal in table tennis in either the Olympic Games or Youth Olympic Games, won a team gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games and also a bronze medal in women’s singles.

Joining Zhang in the Olympic Qualification Tournament are 2008 Olympian Chen Wang and 2012 Olympian Timothy Wang, along with Jiaqi Zheng, Yijun Feng, Sharon Alguetti, Kanak Jha and 14-year-old Crystal Wang.

If Crystal Wang or 15-year-old Alguetti make the Olympic team, either would be the youngest U.S. Olympian since swimmer Michael Phelps made it as a 15-year-old in 2000.

Chen Wang, now 42 years old, reached the quarterfinals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. She temporarily retired from the sport to start a family, then returned to competition last year.

Timothy Wang, a four-time world team member, was Team USA’s lone male table tennis athlete at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.