West Hempstead, L.I.—From the outside, she looks like any other 16 year old girl.
But put Estee Ackerman in front of a ping pong table and it is take no prisoners.
“I want to show them that I’m Estee Ackerman and I’m gonna give you my best, even if I win or not,” Ackerman announced.
What started out as a way for her dad to bond with her and her brother, has turned into a competitive sport for this teen from West Hempstead, Long Island.
“The U.S. Open?” Mr. G asked.
“I represented the United States in the U.S. Open a good number of times. In December I was there in Las Vegas, dominating, winning 4 gold medals. That is tennis great Rafael Nadal,” Ackerman said.
“Wait, you played him?” Mr. G asked.
“Yes, in ping pong, and surprisingly I think I showed him what a nationally ranked ping pong player looks like,” Ackerman said.
And now she has her eyes set on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“I am really really looking forward because I know I have the experience already and I’m ramping up my training schedule,” Ackerman explained.
The U.S. has never medaled in ping pong and Estee hopes to be the first.
But what she doesn’t know is that she’s looking into the eyes of another impressive table tennis athlete, who’s about to take her down!
“Usually don’t take my jacket off when I play ping pong. Any tips?” Mr. G joked.
“Just keep praying that I miss. This 0-0 won’t be there for awhile guys,” Ackerman commented.
They play to 11, but Estee beats Mr. G.
“What does it feel like to be so successful so young?” Mr. G asked.
“It feels great, but I know there’s a lot of ways to improve still,” Ackerman said.
Besides a spot in the Olympics, Estee is also hoping to get ping pong into more and more schools in our area and across the U.S..