By John Ruwitch (NPR)

Judy Hoarfrost remembers the day she walked into China a half-century ago.

She was 15 and the youngest member of the U.S. pingpong team, which had been in Nagoya, Japan, competing in the World Championships. Two days before the tournament ended, Team China surprised the Americans with an invitation to come to their country and play some games.

It was the height of the Cold War, the U.S. did not recognize the People’s Republic of China and had no relations with it, and Americans weren’t allowed to travel there. But the team got speedy permission from the State Department. They flew to Hong Kong, and the next day they took a train to the border.

“That actually was a big moment for me, walking across the bridge,” Hoarfrost recalled. “There was this music playing, and it was very, you know … It was just very rousing. It was like being in a movie, really. It was just very dramatic.”… Read More

Members of Team USA’s Ping-Pong Diplomacy Team. (Image Courtesy of Mal Anderson for USA Table Tennis)