Houston is a hotbed for many summer Olympic sports – Houston Public Media

While table tennis has long been a staple of the Summer Olympics, sport climbing and skateboarding are new additions to Tokyo.

With the Summer Olympics in full swing now in Tokyo, you might be watching some of these competitions and wondering: could I do that? Or at least a much less competitive version of that?

The answer is, of course, yes. And many Houstonians engage in many of the sports featured in the Summer Games.

Throughout the Olympics, Houston Matters tells you how Houstonians enjoy – and even compete at the highest level – the sports featured in Tokyo, from Table tennis To archery, To skateboarding and sport climbing, To fencing.

Don’t call it ping-pong: table tennis is a serious sport

Table tennis
Competitors compete against each other at the Houston International Table Tennis Academy near Katy.

Table tennis is an extremely popular Olympic sport in some parts of the world. But, here in the United States, it’s often enjoyed more casually and less competitively – and often under the entirely different name of ping-pong.

To find out more, Houston Matters host Craig Cohen recently visited the Houston International Table Tennis Academy, a major training facility that can be easy to miss, tucked away next to a pizzeria in a mall near Katy.

Archery – An Ancient Living Tradition in Houston

Archery instructor James Loesch and his student Meg Basu, a former competitive bobsledder who learned archery during the pandemic.

Competitive archery in the Olympics had come and gone at various times throughout the 20th century. But this ancient tradition is certainly alive and well at both the Tokyo Games and the Western Houston Archery, a large retail store just off I-10 in the Memorial District.

Houston Matters Producer Joshua Zinn visited the store where children and adults learn the sport of Archery Lessons in Houston, which operates out of the center.

There, he met certified instructor James Loesch and his student Meg Basu, a former competitive bobsleigh who learned archery during the pandemic.

Houston skateboarders wonder if Olympic acceptance comes at a cost

While skateboarding has been around for decades and competitions are nothing new, it is new to the olympics, with medals presented for the first time in Tokyo.

Some wonder if the growing global acceptance of sport comes at a price for its roots in rebellion and self-expression. Producer Troy schulze visited a local skate park to find out what skaters in the Houston area think.

And you can root for Houston Jordan Santana at the women’s park skating competition next week.

Sisters show how Houston became a hotbed for fencing (coming August 3)

Houston climbers appreciate the sport’s addition to the Olympics (coming August 5)

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