In an attempt to make table tennis more enjoyable for television audiences, the International Table Tennis Federation took action after the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. To make the ball easier to see during the frenetic action, the diameter of a regulation table tennis ball was officially changed from 1.5 inches (38 mm) to 1.57 inches (40 mm). The sport's governing body also hoped that the larger ball would increase air resistance and slow down the game slightly, making it easier for TV viewers to follow the fast-paced action. The decision to increase the ball's diameter was also prompted by players increasing the sponge layer on their paddles, which helped them put more zip on the ball.
Follow the bouncing ball:
- Table tennis was invented in England in the late 19th century and was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1988.
- The decision to increase the size of the table tennis ball was the first official change to the game since 1937.
- World-class players can put up to 9,000 rpm of spin on table tennis balls. Theoretically, larger balls should have less spin.