Legends

Byeong Hun An's dad, who is an Olympic medalist, could beat you at ping pong with a wooden spoon

October 16, 2019

This week on the PGA Tour many of the top players in the world make the trip to Jeju Island, South Korea for the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, the first event of the tour's Asian swing. For the South Koreans in the field like Byeong Hun An, Sung Kang, Si Woo Kim and others, it's the only spot on the schedule that provides them with a chance to play a home game.

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Being back in his home country gave An some time to hang out with his dad, An Jae-Hyeong, who won the bronze medal in Men's Doubles table tennis at the 1988 Summer Olympics, which took place in their home city of Seoul. As An explains in the video below, scoring even one point against his father is hard, and scoring two is a minor miracle. That's why the only way it's a fair fight is if they put a handicap on the game. This particular time, that handicap was An's dad having to play with a wooden spoon:

An claims to have finally beaten his dad here, but man, it looks like he really had to work for the win. In those highlights, Byeong Hun only edged him out 4-3. Not sure what score they played to, but dad certainly didn't go down without a fight. He could probably beat me by double digits with the wooden spoon while also being blindfolded. What a legend.

Check out this video of An Jae-Hyeong in action at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, where he clinched the men's team gold medal in this match:

Absolutely electric scene. According to the YouTube description this was the first victory of the Korean male team against China. "One of the most dramatic and historical moments for the Korean Table Tennis," it reads. Yeah, we'd say so!

Even crazier, three years after this, An Jae-Hyeong married Jiao Zhimin, who is might be an even bigger table tennis legend than her husband. Playing for China at the 1988 Summer Olympics, she won the silver medal in doubles and the bronze in singles. In 1991, the couple had Byeong Hun, who became the youngest ever winner of the U.S. Amateur at age 17 in 2009. While he's had just one win as a pro at European Tour's BMW Championship in 2015, he's still had a very productive career, racking up over $7.3 million in earnings on the PGA Tour. Not a bad list of accolades for the An family.

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