“Ping Pong Diplomacy”
Events Mark 40th Anniversary of China’s Re-Opening
Original Players – Current Olympic/ World Champions Coming July 5, 6
The Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee (BASOC) announced today that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Chairman Larry Probst, are serving as Honorary Co-Chairs for the festivities and events being planned to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of “Ping Pong Diplomacy”, which in 1971 led to President Richard Nixon’s historic trip to China in 1972.
Sports, and the courage of two athletes to break the barriers between these two nations, provided the platform to open the doors of the world’s largest country to the world’s most powerful nation.
“We are delighted, and honored, to welcome the delegation from China to the San Francisco Bay Area next month,” said Anne Warner Cribbs, 1960 Olympian, President & CEO of BASOC. “The promotion of peace and goodwill through sports is a core value of BASOC, and of course the Olympic Movement. Ping Pong Diplomacy is perhaps the greatest demonstration of the power of this belief in the last half-century, and it must be commemorated accordingly.”
On April 10, 1971, nine American players with four officials entered Mainland China from Hong Kong and spent the next seven days playing exhibitions, touring the Great Wall, Summer Palace and watching ballet. In recognition, and collaboration with the Chinese National Olympic Committee, International Table Tennis Federation, U.S. Table Tennis Association, Bay Area Council and Asia Society, BASOC will deliver a program the entire community can be proud of and participate in.
Festivities will start with a welcome reception and Fourth of July fireworks viewing party. On July 5th, an afternoon “Sports and Diplomacy – the Legacy of 1971” Forum at the San Francisco Main Library will precede a VIP reception and exhibition event in San Francisco. The next day, clinics with Bay Area table tennis clubs will lead into a large audience exhibition and demonstration matches for the public at large at Stanford University.
Tickets for the July 6th demonstration, coach’s clinic and VIP Reception can be purchased via the internet at www.basoc.org or www.gostanford.com/40pingpong or through area table tennis clubs in Palo Alto, Fremont, San Jose and San Francisco.
The commerce, trade, cultural exchanges and business activity between our two nations that we all benefit from are tied to the chance encounter and conversations of two athletes – Zhuang Zedong and Glenn Cowan. The fabulous 2008 Beijing Olympics were built on the foundation of what these two athletes, and ambassadors for peace, initiated in 1971.
Tickets for the exhibition matches can be purchased at www.gostanford.com/pingpong40
40th Anniversary Ping Pong Diplomacy memorabilia available at PaddlePalace.com.