Wang Tao (王涛) is Chinese table tennis player and now the head coach of the August First (the Army) Team.
Wang was born in December 1967 into a family of musicians. His father and elder brother are violinists. He also began to learn to play the violin in childhood, but in his own words, he stopped playing the violin because of his short fingers. He took to table tennis by chance, and quickly beat all his family members. Consequently, his father sent him to a sports school to learn to play table tennis.
As a player, he has been successful. In his career, he won a gold medal in the mixed doubles and a silver medal in the men's doubles at the 41st World Championships, took both gold medals in the men's doubles and mixed doubles at the 42nd World Championships, and received three gold medals in the men's team event, men's doubles and mixed doubles at the 43rd World Championships. He also captured a gold medal in the mixed doubles at the 25th Olympic Games, a silver medal in the men's singles at the 13th World Cup, became the winner of the grand final of the World Star Tour in 1994, and took two silver medals in the men's singles and men's doubles at the 26th Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Using a bat with a reversed rubber surface for forehand strokes and a natural rubber surface for backhand strokes, the left-handed tennis player resorted to his special tactic of combining a fast attack with loop drives, a unique style adopted for better cooperation with his teammate in the men's doubles, which made him well known in the Ping Pong world very early. His performances in the men's singles also improved quickly, but were not as good as in the doubles. Wang Tao was best known for his fast backhand flicks in world table tennis. He raised his skills in playing loop drives to new heights and was good at using his power to attack the weaknesses of his opponents. He was a typical player using his brain to play table tennis.
Wang Tao is now the head coach of the August First (the Army) table tennis team with nearly 100 players under his command. Speaking of the future, he has said that while working in the table tennis circle, he must concentrate on it in the hope of training more outstanding players so that Chinese table tennis will have an inexhaustible source of such players.