By Michael E. Ruane (Washington Post)

Judy Bochenski was 15, wore mini skirts, and had to ask her parents if it was ok to cross the border into Red China.

John Tannehill was 18, and as he crossed, he sported the blue denim overalls that were the rage back home.

Glenn Cowan was 19, had shoulder-length hair, and wore purple bell bottoms. He waved goodbye to the media as he walked into the isolated nation.

It was April 10, 1971, and the teenage table tennis players were part of an improbable group of Americans who became the first to enter Communist China in two decades and begin a thaw that would evolve over 50 years… Read more

John Tannehill and Glen Cowens interact with their Ping-Pong diplomacy counterparts. (Image Courtesy of Mal Anderson for USA Table Tennis)