Post London 2012, the Copper Box Arena - which hosted handball, modern pentathlon and goalball during those glorious Olympic and Paralympic Games - has been used for a variety of other sports, including basketball, badminton, netball and wheelchair rugby.
Coming up next, from Thursday until next Sunday (February 22 to 25) is table tennis, in the shape of the 11th edition of the International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) Team World Cup.
The official marketing on this - "Table Tennis Coming Home". Which raises some rather complex questions about the game’s origins.
Where you start your table tennis history depends on whether you want to trace the game back to its ancient forbear, which was thought to be the medieval pastime known as Jeu de Paume. Which originated in France.
Or whether you want to pinpoint the first time a version of tennis was played on a table. Which is believed to have been in England.
Or South Africa.
The ITTF site itself describes table tennis as something that "began as a mild social diversion", adding: "It was probably played with improvised equipment in England, during the last quarter of the 19th century.
"Though Table Tennis evolved, along with Badminton and Lawn Tennis, from the ancient game of Tennis (also known as Jeu de Paume, Real tennis, Court Tennis or Royal Tennis), the game was developed after Lawn Tennis became popular in the 1880s.
"The earliest surviving action game of Tennis on a table is a set made by David Foster, patented in England in 1890 (No.11037): Parlour Table Games, which included table versions of Lawn Tennis, Cricket and Football."
In 1891 the noted gamemakers John Jacques of London introduce their "Gossima" game, which used drum-type paddles or bats, a 50 millimetres web wrapped cork ball, and a 30 centimetres high net.
But pre-dating these parlour table games by at least a decade are reports of "indoor tennis" being played by British Army officers stationed in India and South Africa. They are said to have used cigar box lids as bats - or paddles - rounded wine bottle corks as balls, and a line of books for an improvised net.
Given the social standing of your average British Army officer in those days, it followed that the sport also become fashionable in upper class circles back in England.
With the turn of the century, however, came the turning point for the game - the introduction of the hollow celluloid ball.
Englishman James Gibb is credited with bringing hollow celluloid balls back to England from the United States in 1900, although some other sources claim they were plastic balls.
Previously most balls were solid rubber or cork, often covered in material.
Some sources also credit Gibb with inventing the name "ping pong", which derived from the sound of the ball bouncing off the drum battledores, the form of bats used at that time, each of which had a different sound.
Those Victorians interested in mildly socially diverting themselves with this topping pastime could have been forgiven some confusion over what to call it. As the 19th century became the 20th, there were a puzzling large number of options, as the ITTF site (which offers its thanks to the late Ron Crayden of England and his book The Story of Table Tennis – the first 100 years) records.
Gossima, Whiff Waff, Parlour Tennis, Indoor Tennis, Pom-Pom, Pim-Pam, Netto, Clip-Clap, Royal Game, Tennis de Salon were just some of the descriptions employed. But the two main names were Ping Pong and Table Tennis.
In 1901 John Jacques registered "Ping Pong" as a trade name in England. The American rights to the name were sold to Parker Brothers. On December 12 in the same year, The Table Tennis Association was formed in England. Four days later, The Ping Pong Association was also formed in England.
On May 1 in 1903 this anomaly was addressed as the two Associations amalgamated, although this new body became defunct the following year as interest in England and Western Europe began to wane.
By the 1920s, however, the game began to revive in these areas and The Table Tennis Association was reconstituted in 1922, becoming the English Table Tennis Association in 1927.
Meanwhile, the world governing body of the International Table Tennis Federation had been formed in Berlin in 1926, with the first World Championships being held in London the same year.
Amidst the flurry of technical and administrative innovations to the game around the turn of the century, it could be argued that the most significant long-term contribution to the growth of table tennis at that time was its introduction to China via western settlements and trade missions.
That set in motion a massive wave of interest that would involve millions of players and eventually create a domination in the international game that continues to this day, with no sign of abating.
In 1902, Englishman E.C.Goode was credited with putting pebbled rubber on his wooden blade, allowing him to put more spin on the ball. This was the forerunner of the ordinary pimpled rubber racket which would be used by the British and European players who were to rule the game for the next 50 years.
But a change was going to come - as The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong, by Guido Mina di Sospiro (Yellow Jersey Press 2013) lucidly explains: "1900…was a seminal year, as the hollow celluloid ball was introduced. Hardbats became the typical racket…and the game remained virtually unaltered for over half a century, dominated by European and American players…
"Then, at the 1952 World Championships in Bombay, Asia entered the scene. After training behind closed doors, Japan’s least talented player on the team, bespectacled and unassuming Hiroji Satoh, unveiled his secret weapon - a wooden blade covered on both sides in thick foam. It was formidable."
The new racket produced no sound when hitting the ball, and imparted "unprecedented amounts of spin and speed: the ball would sink into the foam and be catapaulted back. No conventional hardbat player could cope with this".
Satoh won the world title, and his compatriots, all sporting sponge bats, would win four of the next five men’s singles titles.
The new bats had changed the shape of the game - instead of the old emphasis on hitting low over the net, and long, the top-spin shot became pre-eminent. It was a model that was to be embraced, 20 or so years later, by tennis itself.
But at the time, this shift felt bewildering to many who played, and indeed followed the game.
Writing in the 1955 annual for the now defunct British comic, Eagle, in an article entitled "May The Best Man Win - Never Mind the Gimmicks", a clearly discomfited Kenneth Wheeler asks: "Is the winner of the World Championships necessarily the best Table Tennis player in the world?
"In Utrecht, Holland, last April, we saw Toshiaka Tanaka, a twenty-year-old Japanese law student, win the World Singles title. Undoubtedly, his was a fine performance, and he must be congratulated on his success. But who would claim that Tanaka is actually the best player in the world today? Very few people, I assure you. Yet he is the world champion. Why? - well, in my view, it’s because he’s had the best gimmick of all the gimmicks on view…”
Wheeler goes on to highlight the fact that the English pair of Johnny Leach - "the most perfect text-book player" and Richard Bergmann - "the hardest to beat" - had both won the world title more than once - but neither had managed it since 1951.
Tanaka, according to the writer, was "relying on luck, a good eye, and a bat with peculiarities of its own". Like his fellow Japanese players, Tanaka uses the "penholder" grip rather than the more orthodox "shake hands" grip employed by European players.
"The one difference is his bat, which has a 'sandwich' surface - alternate layers of soft rubber, inverted hard pimpled rubber and yellow sponge. This bat often gives his shots and services an unpredictable swerve and, while his opponents are still trying to familiarise themselves with its peculiarities, it gives him a tremendous psychological advantage."
Wheeler goes on to point out that Leach and Bergmann soon got the beating of Satoh once they had worked him out during a tour of Japan. He adds that the 1954 world champion, Ichiro Ogimura, also "lost his 'invincible' tag while on a subsequent Scandinavian tour with Leach. (That said, Ogimura regained his men’s singles world title in 1956, and earned silver the following year…)
But Wheeler concludes: "Under the conditions in which the World Championship tournaments are played, these players were worthy winners. But they won not because they were clearly the best players present but because, within the rules, they used methods and equipment which reduced the play to erratic conditions.
"Under such conditions, technically perfect players like Leach, [Ferenc] Sido and Bergmann are at a disadvantage. Not because they lack the technique to deal with the unexpected: all of them have shown that they are able to beat the spongers and other 'freaks' after a series of games.
"But under World Championship conditions they are liable to have to meet as many as six different types of bat and six different methods of play in one day, and it is very difficult for them to adjust their timing so often as to deal with each one successfully.
"Their task becomes increasingly difficult as, year by year, the number of entrants and variety of gimmicks increases."
It was not until 1959 that the ITTF acted to standardise bats. It banned the sponge racket and standardised the thickness of a "sandwich" racket composed of an ordinary pimpled rubber, which may or may not be inverted, and a thinner sponge layer.
The "sandwich" bat was a compromise between the two extremes - but it proved almost as effective as the original sponge rackets in terms of imparting spin and speed.
And in the same year, in what was the first of the biennial World Championships, China secured its first men’s singles gold through Rong Guotuan, who thus became the first Chinese world champion in any sport.
That was to be Guotuan’s only title - but of the 29 men’s finals held since then his compatriots have won 19, a statistic that is the more impressive for the fact that, from around 1965 to 1971 under the rule of Mao Tse-Tung, Chinese representation in international table tennis events disappeared.
These broad changes were being mirrored in the women’s game, where the sixth successive world title win by Romania’s Angelica Rozeanu in 1955 turned out to be the last time a non-Asian player won the women’s world title.
Here the story of Chinese domination has been even more pronounced. After Qiu Zhonghui’s early win in 1961, Chinese women – once they got back into competition in 1971- have been overwhelmingly successful, winning all but three titles.
The last non-Chinese winner of the women’s world title was South Korea’s Hyun Jung-hwa - in 1993.
It has been the same story in both the men’s and women’s doubles. And indeed, at the Olympics.
While there had been discussions about possible Olympic inclusion in ITTF circles since the early 1930s, the prospects dipped at the 1946 London Conference held to revive the ITTF after the dormancy of the Second World War.
When asked for his position on Olympic inclusion, the ITTF President Ivor Montagu replied: "I am opposed to the inclusion of table tennis in the Olympic Games. … Firstly, I think the Olympic Games should be restricted to athletics and similar events, where athletes vie with each other, not extend to sports of football or lawn tennis type.
"Second, I think sports that do not have their own world title competitions need the Olympic Games. We, and similarly lawn tennis with the Davis Cup, do not need the Olympics. For us they are a duplication. lawn tennis dropped out of the Olympics after, I think, 1924 [sic 1928].
"Third, it is not certain that if we applied we would be successful. If we were refused it would be a rebuff and a humiliation to the game."
It was more than 30 years before Table Tennis was officially recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee ahead of inclusion for the first time at the 1988 Games in Seoul.
Since then it has proved to be one of the most popular of Olympic sports, ranking fifth overall at Athens 2004.
Chinese men and women have won 28 out of a possible 32 gold medals. The last gold they failed to win was at Athens 2004, when Ryu Seung Min of South Korea defeated Wang Hao in the men’s singles final.
In answer to the obvious question - why is China so good at table tennis? - one can point to the overwhelming statistics. China has the largest population in the world, around 1.4 billion. And, critically, huge numbers know and love the game that was introduced over 100 years ago.
Natural enthusiasm was consciously supercharged in the 1950s, when Chairman Mao declared table tennis was the national sport.
Today there are said to be tables in nearly every park, while almost every school has a team that trains regularly.
An estimated 300 million Chinese play table tennis regularly, and around 10 million play competitively.
Add to the unrivalled talent pool a rigorous and well established talent-spotting programme and highly developed tactical and technical awareness, and you have an almost unbeatable combination.
In the relatively short era before political considerations cut short their appearances, Chinese players had managed a twist on the Japanese Sponges - In the early 1960's, Xhang Xi Lin of China used a "Yin-Yan" bat with normal rubber on one side, and long pimples on the other - the first recorded instance of successful combination bat play.
But during this little era it was another Chinese player, Zhuang Zedong, who was proving most effective as he won three men’s singles titles in a row at the World Championships.
China returned to circulation in the table tennis world, after a gap of six years, at the 1971 World Championships in Nagoya, where Sweden’s Stellan Bengtsson became the first European to take gold in the men’s singles since Hungary’s Sido in 1953.
While they were in Nagoya, the United States players received an unprecedented invitation to visit China as diplomatic relations between the two countries began to thaw after a period of more than 20 years of mutual distrust.
Sport was being used directly to bridge gaps between people and nations. The trip became known as "Ping-Pong Diplomacy".
"Table Tennis diplomacy" just doesn’t make it as a headline…
After the ping of the US visit, came the pong of a Chinese return visit to the United States the following year.
Normal service was resumed in 1973 when China regained possession of the men’s and women’s singles titles at the World Championships, but there were some significant periods when that renewed domination was stayed in the men’s competition, predominantly by Sweden.
Between 1989 and 1993 the Swedes were on a roll, winning three world team events and securing the men’s singles world title through Jan-Ove Waldner and Jörgen Persson in 1989 and 1991 respectively.
Waldner won another men’s singles title in 1997 and three years later was part of the team that won another final.
It was also in 2000 that the first of two significant rule changes were made by the ITTF as they increased the size of the celluloid ball from 38 to 40mm. The larger ball had the effect of slowing down a game in which advances in speed glue on bats had reached the point where it was becoming hard for spectators and television viewers to follow.
The following year, as the ITTF looked towards securing the game’s continuing appeal and Olympic inclusion, the scoring system was revised so that games were won by the first player to 11 points, or the first to lead by two after 10 points, with serve changing after every two points.
From 2014, the ITTF produced another telling tweak in the game as plastic balls replaced celluloid balls - the latter being increasingly difficult to manufacture after its raw materials were ruled hazardous to health.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow were the last major event to feature the old-style celluloid ball. Thereafter, plastic has ruled - and experts have reported that the new balls are less amenable to spin, thus tilting the game back towards faster, flatter hitters…
No matter the twists and turns of technical adjustments, however, the Chinese keep on winning. And there is nothing to suggest any change in the order of events when competition gets underway in that Copper Box on Thursday…
China’s men’s team, seeded number, includes 21-year-old 2017 world individual silver medallist Fan Zhendong, Rio 2016 individual gold medallist Ma Long, and one of Long’s fellow members of the men’s team champions at Rio 2016, Xu Xin.
If that result looks predictable, however, there will be an element of novelty in the competition following the announcement last week that this Team World Cup - the second most prestigious team tournament after the World Championships - will be played with the new Olympic test playing system.
That will mean a less flexible playing order, starting with a doubles match and then four singles matches.There will be no break during the team match because all five matches will be fixed after the toss procedure.
The Team World Cup, which was last held in Dubai in 2015, comprises of a total of 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams which are made up of a host team, Continental Champions and the other top finishers at the 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships.
On the allocation of the event to London, ITTF’s President Thomas Weikert commented: "London is a very special place for the ITTF, as it is where we were founded in 1926, and where we held our first World Championships in the same year. It is great to be bringing world class table tennis back to this city, for this reason and because of the massive success of the London 2012 table tennis event."
England hosted the individual Men’s World Cup at Liverpool in 2012 but this will be the first world title event to be staged in London since the 1954 World Championships at Wembley.
And 64 years after Ogimura’s first world title win in those Championships, there is a suggestion of further success for his fellow countrymen in the capital - or rather, fellow countrywomen, as Japan are ranked top seeds in the women’s event ahead of China.