What are the dimensions of the table for Olympic table tennis?

The playing surface in table tennis is a rectangle 9 feet (2.74 meters) long and 5 feet (1.53m) wide. It is elevated 2 feet, 6 inches (76 centimeters) above the floor. The playing surface includes the top edges of the table but not the sides. The net splits the table into two equal courts and is 6 inches (15.25cm) high. The net extends 6 inches outside the sideline. The white line dividing each side (used for doubles) is 1/8 of an inch wide.

What kind of paddle is used in Olympic table tennis?

Officially called a "racket" by the International Table Tennis Federation, "paddle" (generally used in the United States) and "bat" (in Britain) are also common terms. Rubber may be applied to one or both sides, depending on the player's grip. The "blade", or wooden portion of the racket, is approximately 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) long and 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) wide. Each side of the racket may use a different surface to emphasize certain styles of play. 

How do Olympic table tennis players hold the paddle?

Players hold or grip the paddle in one of two ways.

First is the penholder grip where the player grips the handle of the paddle as if it were a pen.  Most penholder players only use one side of the paddle to strike the ball. There are two variations of the penholder grip -- the Chinese grip and the Japanese grip. With the Chinese grip, the fingers are curled at the top of the backside of the blade; with the Japanese grip, the fingers are spread on the back of the racket. The penholder grip allows for remarkable spin on serves and explosive forehand attacks. 

The second and most widely used grip style among world-class players is the shakehand grip. This grip resembles the Eastern grip in tennis, holding the handle as if to "shake hands" with it. Shakehand players have equal control and power on the forehand and backhand strokes. Most shakehands players concentrate on topspin shots. Some shakehand players use only one side of the racket to strike the ball and play a blocking style, but most play aggressively using both sides of the blade.

How much does an Olympic table tennis ball weigh?

A plastic table tennis ball weighs 2.7 grams (0.095 ounces) and possesses a diameter of 50 millimeters (1.57 inches). Depending on the table's color, the ball can be either white or orange. Any ball used in official competition must be inspected by the International Table Tennis Federation to ensure it meets quality standards. 

The ball's size was a source of controversy around the turn of the century. The ball had increased from 38 to 40mm, which decreased its speed. Though the Chinese argued this change was intended to help non-Chinese teams, China still won gold in all four major table tennis categories at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.