If Chinese Gymnasts Had Bat Mitzvah’s and Other Post Olympic Ideas

As Shabbat begins, and the sun sets on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, my thoughts include: If Chinese female gymnasts were forced to become Jewish at the sino-shul ( www.SinoGogue.org ), then we would all know when they turned 13, and thus 16, and there would be no need for IOC investigations into their ages,
I want to remember a long haired Jewish guy who helped to re-open China to the West, and I do not mean Henry Kissinger.

Exchanging Gifts
Once upon a time there was a sincere, long haired, Jewish athlete who re-opened the doors of China to the West, and ushered in Nixon’s trip to Peking, and the current Olympics in Beijing. It was Glenn L. Cowan, 19, who in 1971 stepped onto the wrong bus at the table tennis championships in Japan.

Cowan accidentally got on the bus of the Chinese team, a team that was severely instructed not to speak with any American. Zhuang Zedong, however, a champion pingpong player who had been imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution, approached Cowan and gave him a gift made of silk. Cowan, in turn, gave his new Chinese bus host a “Let It Be” peace-sign t-shirt.

When word of the incident reached Chairman Mao Zedong, he decided to use a small ball to promote a big ball. Mao instructed his Communist government to invite the American table tennis team to China. It was 1971, during the Vietnam and Cold Wars. The team came to China, and during the ping pong visit, Nixon and Kissinger used the opportunity to end the U.S. embargo against “Red” Chinese products, which, in turn, led to Nixon’s trip to China in 1972. By 1979, relations between the two countries were “normalized,” and in 1984, China sent a full delegation to the Los Angeles Olympics.

Cowan's guide to ping pong

Cowan's guide to ping pong

The moral of the story? A Jewish person armed with a t-shirt can change the world.


  1. David Trautman

    8/26/2008 at 5:35 am

  2. froylein

    8/26/2008 at 9:12 am

  3. Ephraim

    8/26/2008 at 3:05 pm

  4. Tom Morrissey

    8/26/2008 at 7:29 pm

  5. themiddle

    8/27/2008 at 1:22 am

  6. themiddle

    8/27/2008 at 1:28 am

  7. Tom Morrissey

    8/27/2008 at 3:58 am

  8. David Trautman

    1/11/2009 at 9:37 am

  9. froylein

    1/11/2009 at 9:43 am

  10. David Trautman

    6/15/2009 at 1:38 pm

  11. froylein

    6/15/2009 at 1:54 pm

  12. themiddle

    6/15/2009 at 2:35 pm

  13. froylein

    6/15/2009 at 2:52 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *