Events

The 40th Anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy

We were honored to host the 40th Anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy from July 4th to the 6th.

40 years ago, the world changed for the better. Despite the 20-year long political tension between the U.S. and Communist China following WWII, China cracked open the diplomatic door and the first Americans in two decades were allowed in. What sparked this sudden cooperation and communication between 2 drastically different nations? Ping Pong. The courage of two athletes - one from each country - started the process that led to President Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972.

Now the San Francisco Bay Area has the opportunity to welcome a delegation from China of Table Tennis Olympians and sports officials, including members of the team who played in the original matches in 1971.

We've planned a full schedule for the three days when this delegation is with us - including a press event, a forum on Sport and Diplomacy, a VIP reception and exhibition, a coaches clinic and an exhibition match at Stanford's Maples Pavilion.

We invite all the friends of BASOC to join us in making this visit a celebration of a truly significant historical event.

Thank you.

In the Olympic Spirit,
Anne Warner Cribbs,
1960 Olympian and Chair of BASOC

40th Anniversary Ping Pong Diplomacy July 4-6, 2011 Video Recap

40th Anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy News Articles

40th Anniversary Ping Pong Diplomacy TV Commercials

English | Cantonese | Mandarin

Chinese Delegation Bios

Cai Zhenhua

  • Vice-President of Chinese Olympic Committee
  • Vice-Minister of Sport and President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association
  • 5 time World Championship as player.
  • Former Head Coach - Chinese National Table Tennis Team

Team Leader - Lu Yuansheng

  • 2000-2009 Head Coach Chinese Women's National Team
  • 1975 Men's Team World Champion

Zhang Yining

Ranked #1 in the World in both women's singles and women's doubles. She has held the #1 ranking continuously since January 2003 to January 2009. With 4 Olympic gold medals, 9 World Championships, and 4 World Cup wins.

Liu Guozheng

  • 2001 Men's Team World Champion
  • 2001 US Open Men's Singles Champion
  • Men's Singles Champion - 1999 China Open
  • Men's Singles Champion - 2000 Swedish Open
  • Men's Singles Champion - 1999 ITTF Tour Grand Finals

Liang Geliang

  • 1971 Men's Team World Champion
  • 1973 Mixed Doubles World Champion
  • 1975 Men's Team World Champion
  • 1977 Men's Team World Champion
  • 1977 Men's Doubles World Champion
  • 1979 Mixed Doubles World Champion

Zheng Huaiying

  • 1975 Women's Team World Champion
  • 1971-1975 China National Team

Yang Jun: (veteran)

  • (Information to follow)

Jiaxin Lai

  • Current Member China Junior Boy's National Team

Zhang Qiang

  • Current Member China Junior Girl's National Team

40th Anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy Schedule of Events

40 years ago the world changed, for the better. Communist China cracked open the diplomatic door and the first Americans in two decades were allowed in. Sports created the opportunity - specifically ping pong (table tennis). The courage of two athletes - one from each country - in particular started the process that led to President Nixon's historic visit a year later.

For complete details, view the schedule of events.

40th Anniversary Ping Pong Diplomacy Public Forum

Koret Auditorium
San Francisco Public Library
July 5th, 2:00-4:30 pm
Open to the public

Sport and Diplomacy Forum - Sponsored by the Asia Society. Meet Olympians and Learn how sports impact international relations. Learn more >>

Historical Look at Ping Pong Diplomacy

Time magazine cover of USA ping pong players visiting the Great Wall of China






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