Timo Boll – the spin of life

KUKA and Timo Boll have formed a perfect team for six years. Now, in a unique documentary film, the robotics and automation company accompanies the table tennis star on his way to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The project shows the journey of an exceptionally talented athlete from his early days in provincial Hessen, Germany, through ups and downs, to becoming a global top athlete.

Timo Boll and KUKA: a special partnership

It all started with a very special duel. Timo Boll, Germany’s most successful table tennis player, faced what is probably the fastest robot in the world – the KR AGILUS from KUKA – in the film “The Duel”. The marketing video was produced for the opening of a KUKA plant in China. In the Middle Kingdom, table tennis is one of the most popular sports and Timo Boll is a celebrated star.

The quick, likeable, successful and hard-working athlete represents top performance and fair play. As a brand ambassador for KUKA, Timo Boll has stood in front of the camera alongside high-precision, resilient and quality-assured German industrial robots many times. As a techie, he is also very interested in robotics.

I’m a technology freak! KUKA robots are fascinating products: fast, agile, precise and reliable, just like a good table tennis player. I’m certainly prepared for a hard-fought match against a KUKA robot.

Timo Boll, European table tennis champion and KUKA brand ambassador in China

Timo Boll: The spin of life – on the way to Tokyo

“The spin of life” is a special film project about an exceptional career: for more than 14 years during his career, Timo Boll ranked among the top ten table tennis players globally, including a lengthy period of time at the top of the list. At 37, he reclaimed the number one ranking, becoming the oldest table tennis player to do so. He has collected over 20 German titles, won World Cups and European Championships, and won medals at the Olympic Games in Beijing, London and Rio. With singles, doubles and team trophies, Timo Boll is a team player to the core. At the age of 39, the table tennis star is still in top form and looking to demonstrate it once again by reaching the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

KUKA accompanies Timo Boll on his way to the Olympic Games in Japan and looks back at the special career of an exceptional athlete in a documentary film. In the lead-up to the Summer Games, one episode will be added to this page every month.

Part 1: First Steps

How it all began: with 200 days to go until the Olympics and Timo Boll preparing for the big tournament in his hometown of Höchst, Germany, we explore the charm of the Odenwald region in southern Hesse. There, we look back at his childhood and provide an exclusive look into his parents’ home and the beginnings of young Timo Boll in the 1980s right up to his meeting with the man who discovered him and became his greatest patron, Helmut Hampl. [02-2020]

Part 2: Know Your Roots

Timo Boll won three gold medals at the European Junior Championships and became a legend in Höchst, Hesse. However, Timo, who has a strong attachment to his hometown, has become part of a larger story. An entire team moved to Höchst just for him and did so at a point when no one could have guessed what would become of talented Timo. No one, that is, except the man who discovered him: Helmut Hampl. [03-2020]

The history of a special duel

Table tennis star Timo Boll and KUKA have been partners for many years. The partnership drew attention thanks to a very special duel. In the marketing video “The Duel”, which has been viewed over 12 million times, Timo Boll and a KUKA KR AGILUS robot compete against each other on the table tennis table. In the end, the human came out on top. Later on, revenge was taken in a discipline where the robot had the upper hand. Discover earlier films of KUKA and Timo Boll.

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