A story in the Korea Herald on Sunday reported that Jiao Zhimin, a member of China's women's table tennis team, might marry Ahn Jae Hyung of South Korea's men's table tennis team at the closing ceremonies that night. Jiao and Ahn met at the Asian Table Tennis Championships in 1984, and their long-distance courtship has captivated both nations. Alas, the wedding did not come off, but another marriage of sorts did take place between the Chinese and the Koreans in Olympic table tennis, as the two countries split the four gold medals. China won the women's singles and the men's doubles, and Korea, the men's singles and the women's doubles. Jiao took home a silver medal in doubles and a bronze in singles.
Despite the dominance of the Chinese and Koreans, the competition produced a few surprises. Jiang Jialiang, China's best and the No. 1 seed, lost his quarterfinal match to Erik Lindh of Sweden. Another Swede, Jan-Ove Waldner, the No. 2 seed, was upset by Kim Ki Taik of Korea, also in the quarters.
An all-Korea final was insured when Yoo Nam Kyu beat Lindh and Kim defeated Tibor Klampàr of Hungary. Yoo and Kim put on a marvelous show. Kim, 26, won the first game, but Yoo, 20, whose emphatic gestures and slam returns delighted the crowd, got the next two. In Game 4, Yoo jumped out in front 6-0, but Kim tied the score at 15 apiece. From there they traded points until Yoo finally won 23-21. "It was a great match to watch," said Lindh. "Yoo is a worthy champion."
In the table tennis marriage between China and Korea, Yoo was clearly the best man.
DAVID E. KLUTHO