For Table Tennis Star Ariel Hsing, School Comes First

Sixteen-year-old Ariel Hsing knows her priorities.

While playing in the Olympic Games would be a dream come true, she said, the junior in high school also knows that she has to get a good education.

"I know at least for me, school is still No. 1," Hsing said during a teleconference. "It's the most important thing and I definitely am trying to get a good education."

So far, Hsing has managed to keep a perfect 4.0 GPA, she said, because when she was young, her parents told her she couldn't play table tennis if she didn't get straight As.

The 16-year-old knows she's not going to play professional table tennis forever, she said, and after high school she'd like to go to Stanford and study business, she said.

Right now, though, Hsing is trying to balance studying for the SATs, schoolwork and table tennis.

"It's really difficult," Hsing said during the teleconference. "(I) have to live a double life."

So far, Hsing has managed to excel both at school and at table tennis. The 2010 and 2011 national champion finished second at the 2012 U.S. table tennis Olympic trials.

The United States still needs to qualify positions for the 2012 London Olympic Games at the North American qualifying tournament in April. Two Olympic berths will be available at that tournament, and players from the United States and Canada will battle for the two spots.

Should Hsing finish among the top two women, she likely will be headed to the London Games.

And that, Hsing said, would be a dream come true.

"(Competing in the Olympic Games) is definitely my dream, but the concept is a little hard to grasp," Hsing said during the teleconference. "It's such a big deal."

Read more about Ariel Hsing: High School Junior Ariel Hsing Dreams of Playing Table Tennis at the Olympic Games

Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46