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Olympic Training In The Age Of Social Distancing: Table Tennis, Anyone?

Lily Zhang is a six-time national champion in table tennis. She was hoping to earn the U.S. its first ever medal in the sport this summer at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but its now been postponed until next year. (Courtesy of Lily Zhang)
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The Olympics have officially been postponed until 2021. But while it’s still unclear what it will take for officials to put the games off another year, one thing is certain: athletes who’ve spent their lives preparing for these games still want to compete — whenever it happens.

Lily Zhang is one of them. A six-time national champion in table tennis, Zhang was hoping to earn the U.S. its first ever medal in the sport. She qualified for the Tokyo games last month, and had been training for the games overseas when she got the news about the U.S. travel ban on European countries.

"I bought a ticket home as soon as I heard about the travel ban. I think everyone’s in the same boat right now. No one can really find the right conditions to train. In that sense, I’m not too worried, because I feel like we’re all in the same situation."

But she’s got one thing in her favor: a standard table tennis table is 9 feet long, which is "good just for social distancing, you know."

Zhang joined Take Two’s A Martinez. You can hear more of their conversation here about whether it’s OK to play table tennis while socially distancing, and how she feels about President Trump using the term “Chinese virus.”

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