Table tennis talent trains for second Olympics

- With a constant rhythm pinging around the walls, off the floors and over the nets, Timothy Wang is aiming to get back to the top.

"I've been training the last four years to try and go back and prove what I can do," said Wang.

The 24-year-old competed in table tennis at the 2012 Olympics and next month will take part in the Olympic Trials to try and qualify for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. The Texas-native recently moved to the Johns Creek area where he works with a coach at the Atlanta International Table Tennis Academy.

Back in the 2012 Olympics, Wang didn't see the ball bounce his way as he was eliminated in the preliminary round.

"I didn't really get the full experience of competing because I only played one match," said Wang. "It really motivated me to work that much harder."

So it was back to the drawing ... table, so to speak. Since moving to Atlanta, Wang has a new ace up his sleeve: trainer Corey Bridged.

"My first thought, I was like, oh wow, table tennis," said Bridges, who runs a company called C4 Performance.

Bridges has a background in football, having played at the University of South Carolina and a little bit in the NFL. He works with Wang at the Norcross Sports Training Academy. It's not about bulging biceps: they focus on balance, core strength and explosion that Wang needs to compete with the best in the world.

Bridges normally trains athletes in major sports, including professionals. Many of those athletes are happy to see Wang working out around the gym, and, of course, challenge him on the table.

"Everytime I walk in, they're like, 'hey, you're the ping pong dude!'" said Wang. "Everybody's like, 'oh I could beat you!' I'm like, 'ok, yeah, come out and play.'"

One of Bridges' other clients, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, recently took up the offer and showed up at the Atlanta International Table Tennis Academy to challenge Wang. Cousins did alright: managing to return one of Wang's serves.

Wang, meanwhile, is looking to add "2-time Olympian" to his resume.

"If I do make the team, I want to do the best I can," said Wang. "I want to prove to myself I did my best. Whatever happens, I don't want to have any regrets.

The Olympic Trials, where Wang will compete with players from Canada as well for spots in Rio, run from April 8th-10th in Markham, Canada.

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