Table Tennis

Photograph by Patrik Giardino


16, 5 feet 6, Arcadia

Trains at: Gao Jun Table Tennis Club in El Monte. The road taken: When Wu lost the first match in a best-of-seven game that would decide whether she made the team, her father left the arena, unable to watch. Wu came back to win, 4-2. Psych factor: “I don’t get too frazzled if I lose a game. I tell myself, I’ve been behind before and caught up. I stay calm and think my way through the match.” Superstition: “Sometimes I pray,” says Wu, a Buddhist. “But I don’t have a specific ritual.” What you should know: “We have no chance of medaling. In Asia and Europe kids focus their training starting when they’re seven. It’s hard to compete with that. But because we don’t have any pressure, we’ll be free to enjoy the experience, like the opening ceremony and exploring the Olympic Village.” Life after London: “I won’t train as much next year because I have a lot of stuff to do—getting my driver’s license, studying for SATs, and doing volunteer work. I really want to work for an animal shelter because I want to be a vet when I grow up.”

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