Joanna Parker will make her Olympic debut at the London Games, and will be Britain’s sole female player in women’s singles competition. She took up table tennis as a seven-year-old at an after-school club, and since then Parker has earned three national championship titles. In 2009, she grabbed bronze at the Commonwealth Games in the women’s doubles event. A year later, she repeated that performance with mixed doubles partner, Paul Drinkhall.
Who’s your Olympic idol and why?
Kelly Holmes because I was lucky enough to meet her and talk to her about her career and found it very inspirational.
If you weren’t competing in your sport, which one do you think you’d like to try?
Oooh, perhaps a bit of Synchronized Swimming! It is amazing to watch and I like the dance element of it. It looks really fun, I don’t know how they hold their breathe for so long though!
What is your favorite thing about the Games?
I like how it brings so many people together, from different countries and different sports. As an athlete there is something very special about feeling part of a team such as Team GB.
What do you love the most about your sport?
Table Tennis is a sport which can be played by anyone, anywhere and at anytime! Pretty much everyone has had a go at Table Tennis at some point in their lives and I don’t think there are many sports that can say that. It’s one of the fastest sports in the world and involves lots of spin.
What do you hope people take away from seeing the Games hosted in your home country?
I hope that it’s great experience for everyone involved and watching, and that they will have something good to take away with them that they will remember for rest of their lives.
Outside of competition, what are you looking to do in London during the Games?
I am going to try and experience as much as I can, and when I have finished in my events I would like to try and get tickets to support Team GB in other sports.
Aside from your sport, what else do you love to do?
I love to spend time with my family, as I don’t see them very often, so a weekend with them is great. My mom, my two sisters and I all have dogs, so I love to go with them all for a walk down to the lake.
What special talent do you wish you had?
I’d love to be able to breathe under water!
What’s your favorite thing to do in London?
I’ve been to the theater a couple of times and both times [were] amazing! I also went with my sister to a Battle of the Bands event once and I absolutely loved it!
Favorite British band?
Coldplay, just because they are awesome!
Favorite British TV show?
“The Inbetweeners”! It’s about four typical British lads in school and it’s just soooo funny! The movie they brought out is hilarious too, and I think I also laughed just as much at the bonus DVD that came with it!