Jean-Philippe Gatien was born on October 16, 1968 and started playing table tennis at the age of 5. He won the World Table Tennis Championship in 1993 in Gothenburg and the Men’s World Cup in 1994 in Taipei.
Other games won by Jean-Philippe Gatien were the 1991 Mediterranean Games, the 1993 Mediterranean Games, and the Euro-Top 12 in 1997 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. In the 1991 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he finished as the runner-up. In later years, he reached the semifinals in the 1996 European Championship held at Bratislava and in the 1998 European Championship held at Eindhoven.
Jean-Philippe Gatien retired in 2004, after a satisfying career, when he defaulted in the Final World Olympic Qualification tournament in Innsbruck, Austria. In November 2006, Gatien set up a new association named ‘Ping Attitude,’ with the support of the French Table Tennis Federation and the Jean-Luc Lagardere Foundation. The ex-world champion wanted to help young people from disadvantaged districts excel in table tennis, particularly the youngsters who were having financial difficulties.
His keen interest in table tennis even after retirement was evident when he set up of the new association for training youngsters of France and molding them for the future of French table tennis. The blades Yasaka Gatien Extra, Extra 3D, Extra 3D Soft Carbon, Extra 7, and Offensive 40 were designed with the help of Gatien to suit players with different techniques.
Jean-Philippe Gatien won a silver medal in the singles event in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. In the finals, he went down to Jan-Ove Waldner in 3 straight sets, 21-10, 21-18, and 25-23. Gatien snatched a bronze in the doubles event in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He and his compatriot Patrick Chila beat the South Korean pair of Lee Chul-seung and Yoo Seung-min 22-20, 21-23, 21-19, and 21-10. They also overcame the Chinese pair of Wang Liqin and Yan Sen 21-19, 14-21, and 21-13 in the semifinals in the Swedish Open in November 1999 but lost to Liu Guozheng and Tan Duanwu in the finals. Jean-Philippe Gatien was a world champion, European Top 12 winner and champion of France 13 times.
At the forty-second World Championships held in Goteborg, Sweden, in 1993, Jean-Philippe Gatien became the first Frenchman to win a world men’s singles championship title. He defeated Jean-Michel Saive of Belgium in the finals in a hard fought, intense, and exciting climax. In the semifinals, Gatien defeated Primorac of Croatia in 5 thrilling games and Podpinka of Belgium in a nail-biting quarterfinal match, surviving a scare.
Michel Gadal coached Jean-Philippe Gatien between September 1979 and August 1992. Gatien later mentioned that Gadal made him understand the meaning of the word ‘training.’ It was Gadal who gave Gatien the tools that were necessary to develop the system of play of Gatien. With the training of Gadal, Gatien became strong tactically, technically, and mentally. Gatien felt he owed much of his World Champion title to Gadal and he pointed out that Gadal always remained in the background during all his successes.
Now, Jean-Philippe Gatien is busy promoting table tennis through his Ping Attitude association. He also runs a session each week at Maison de Solenn in Paris which welcomes adolescents and endeavors to offer a response to the problems they face.
As part of an experimental educational project, in first-year classes at high schools in Clichy sous Bois and Saint-Ouen, Jean-Philippe Gatien and Michel Gadal, National Technical Director of the French Table Tennis Federation, run workshops which combine sport and education, as well as an initiation to competition and an opportunity to find out about the history of the Olympic movement.