What did you do this summer? Enjoy a family holiday? Take up a new sport? Catch up with your friends? How about represent your country at the London 2012 Olympic Games?
And this is exactly what 16-year-old Ariel Hsing did! The Team USA table tennis player - who competed at the first Youth Olympic Games, Singapore 2010 - did her country proud, winning her two opening matches convincingly before bowing out to the eventual gold medallist, Xiaoxia Li of China, in the third round.
But for all her success, Ariel is still a normal 16-year-old, and just four days after the London 2012 Closing Ceremony she was back in school for the start of a new term.
“Some kids in my class, they thought it was just so cool that I went to the Olympics this summer,” said Ariel, who attends Valley Christina, in San Jose. “They started a table tennis club, so they made me president of it.”
Table tennis aside, Ariel is a straight-A student (Ariel and her parents have an agreement that she can keep playing table tennis competitively as long as she maintains an A average) and she wants to keep it that way, with her sights set on university next. That said, college may have to wait as her desire to win a medal at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games takes centre stage.
“I’ve been thinking, and I really do want to continue to play table tennis,” said Ariel, who has played table tennis against Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. “My goal is now the 2016 Olympics. I’ve been thinking that maybe I want to take a year off after high school, maybe even a year off during college.”
For the full story on Ariel, visit www.TeamUSA.org