Ariel Hsing, an American teen competing at the London Olympics, just upset the former world champion and gold medalist from 1983 out of Luxembourg known as Ni Xia Lian. This just happened this past Sunday during the third round of the London Olympics table tennis tournament.
Hsing, who is only 16 years old, and gained a lot of attention because she happens and be friends with the two richest men in the world Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, beat Ni by a score of 4-2. She is going to later face Li Xiaoxia, who is the number two seed, and this is also going to take place during the third round.
Li, as well as her Chinese teammate Ding Ning, are two of the competitors that are potentially going to be the gold-medal winner.
“I really respect her as a player and I think she’s amazing,” said Hsing. “She’s one of my idols. But I’m just going to go for it. I think skill-wise she’s much better than me and she has a lot more experience than me. But it’s going to be her first match at these Olympics, and from my experience it is so nerve-racking.”
Hsing didn’t even realize that she was going to be playing Li later on Sunday. She had to find out from a reporter that same day.
“Do I really?” she replied.
And then it was confirmed just moments later.
“Oh my gosh,” she added.
During her match with Ni Xia Lian, the 16 year old actually had match point during the fifth game, but unfortunately hit a long ball and lost the game. But she did come back in the sixth and was able to win it by 12 – 10 which gave her the opportunity to win the best of seven series by a score of 4 – 2.
“At that point of losing (the fifth game) I really had to block out being so close and focus on the present,” said Hsing.
Hsing, who is going into her senior year at Christian Valley High School in San Jose California, was not sure whether or not Warren Buffett or Bill Gates would show up at the Olympics to watch her play.
But there were plenty of rumors floating around that said that Bill Gates may actually show up to the event. Warren Buffett knew ahead of time that he was not going to be able to make it. And Bill Gates did show up to the event and showed support for his young friend who calls him Uncle Bill.
Warren Buffett met Ariel at the tender age of nine, and then just two years later he actually invited her to a annual meeting at Berkshire Hathaway, where she played against some of the shareholders at the event. Then she returned again this year once she secured her spot on the United States Olympic team. She played Gates and Buffett at this event, and easily scored a few points off of the pair.
She actually refers to both gentlemen respectively as “Uncle Bill” and “Uncle Warren.”
Ariel has actually mentioned that she wants to use her time at the London Olympics, which is her first Olympics, as a way to prepare for the Rio de Janeiro Games that are coming up in four years. Her time is here now though, which is much sooner than expected.
Ni is a European champion twice over, and has been playing as a world champion for China for over 30 years now.
“Of course when I was 19 I was a world champion,” said Ni. “But times are changing and she’s playing well.”
Hsing is a United States citizen that was born and raised here, to two loving parents who emigrated to the United States around 20 years ago. Her mother Xin Jiang is originally from China, and her father Michael is from Taiwan.
The table tennis tournament is about to get very serious later on Sunday night, and especially on Monday as the top 16 women and men singles compete for the gold.
Table tennis is a national pastime in China, so it’s no surprise that they have taken 20 of the last 24 gold medals given out since the event was added to the Olympic Games in Seoul Korea during the 1988 Olympics. It is expected that the Chinese are going to take all four gold medals this year as well, meaning they will get both team gold medals and both single gold medals in their respective categories.