We have previously posted the results of 40th Anniversary Celebration of Ping Pong Diplomacy tour in July of this year that featured 15 delegation members from the Chinese Table Tennis Association and the Chinese Olympic Committee in a three city tour that included Milwaukee, San Francisco and Los Angeles (Nixon Library). As part of the home and away arrangements agreed upon with the CTTA, USATT was invited to come to China for a continuation of the historic celebration from Dec 7 – through Dec 15, 2011.
USATT received letters of gratitude for the experience they had while in the USA from the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Chinese Table Tennis Association. It was a combined effort of many folks in Milwaukee (Linda Leaf and Ross Brown) in San Francisco (Anne Cribbs and Dennis Davis) and the good folks at the Nixon Library that enabled us to successfully conduct the home phase of the 40th Anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy. The key veterans in this first leg were our ’71 PPD veterans, Judy Hoarfrost, Tim Boggan and George Braithwaite and we were able to include many of our promising juniors in various segments of the tour to stimulate the legacy aspect of the program.
The entire ‘away’ event was in doubt until funding support was made possible through grants obtained from the Colorado Springs based El Pomar Foundation and the U.S. Olympic Committee. The USA delegation leader for the ‘away’ phase is Bill Hybl. Bill was a two-term President of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is currently President Emeritus of the USOC and President of the U.S. Olympic Foundation. Diplomacy is second nature to Bill as he is also the Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Diplomacy. Also joining the delegation is Dragomir Cioroslan, who serves as the Managing Director of International Development of the USOC.
We have lined up ’71 and ’72 PPD veterans for the ‘away’ phase in Judy Hoarfrost, Connie Sweeris and John Tannehill who will be teaming up with ’72 PPD veteran, Dell Sweeris. For elite players we have Lily Yip and Yiyong Fan along with Timothy Wang. The Chinese were aware that the dates that they proposed conflicted with our National Championships but the dates they offered were tied to the involvement of several top government officials and they appreciated our involvement according to the schedule provided.
USATT Magazine editor, Steve Hopkins, was appointed to the delegation and will serve as the official photographer and journalist for the event. We anticipate that he will submit regular blog postings on the event as it transpires and of course will provide a complete report in an upcoming magazine edition. The entire USA PPD delegation is attached for your review. The intent was to provide senior and experienced leadership for the delegation that would catch the attention of the CTTA and COC, secure ’71 and ’72 veterans as key features of the event, include elite athletes to round out the program and match the CTTA’s representation in July with USATT representation for the ‘away’ segment.
Michael D. Cavanaugh