Athlete Spotlight: Peter Karlsson

Equipped with a cheerful demeanor and a passion for sport, Peter Karlsson travels the globe sharing the valuable lessons and fun of table tennis with youth. As he has worked in many countries to develop sport and connect youth with table tennis, he possesses an extensive knowledge of what a budding sports program needs to be successful, how to recruit youth to participate, and of course, what skills and techniques can improve a player’s performance.


After retiring from active competition in 2006, Peter took on a new role within the sport of table tennis – coach and advocate. As a Program Ambassador for the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and Peace and Sport, Peter has traveled to numerous developing countries to share the sport with young people.

  • Ping Pong Paz – Peter visited Colombia in 2009 to join ITTF, Peace and Sport, and other organizations in support of this program, which brings supplies and coaching to the children of Colombia so they can learn and enjoy the sport.
  • Ping Pong Ba Dame – In 2010 Peter joined ITTF in Southeast Asia to launch this program and bring sport opportunities and values to the children in this highly volatile region. These youth are living in poverty and have been affected by local conflicts. Peter visited with the six local NGOs, through which 200 children will have the opportunity to learn and play table tennis twice a week.
  • Ping Pong PaixVisiting four villages across the disputed border of Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Peter continued to share table tennis with youth in areas troubled by conflict and poverty. Like the previous programs, Ping Pong Paix, sought to share the values of respect, tolerance, discipline, and team effort. In 2013 this outstanding program was recognized by SportAccord with the “Spirit of Sport” award.


It is no surprise that he is eager to share the sport with youth all around the world, because Peter started his own successful Table Tennis career at the young age of 8 years old. Peter decided to go pro 11 years later in 1988. For the next 18 years, Peter competed extensively and earned esteemed distinctions, such as World Champion, European Champion, and Olympian.

  • 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics
  • 1995 and 2005 World Championships
  • Six World Cup appearances
  • 1st place in the 2002 Italian Open
  • Europe Top 12 – 2nd place (1993, 1998, 2001) and 3rd in 1994