Published: Sep 02, 2011 1:23 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.  Join Art of the Olympians  on Friday, September 2 for the debut of the Table Tennis Showcase
in the Olympic Sport Gallery.   The exhibit features unique displays which tell the rich history of Table Tennis.  Visitors can test their skill on two regulation tables.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of "Ping Pong Diplomacy".  In 1971, Table Tennis became more than a sport; it was a tool for peace.   On July 8,1971 a tournament took place between players from the People's Republic of China and the United States.   At the time, the U.S. players were the first Americans to visit China in more than 20 years and their visit helped lay the groundwork for formal diplomatic relations that were established the following year with President Richard Nixon's visit.

Families, friends and community members are invited to take a look into the world of Table Tennis on September 2 from 6-10 p.m. That evening visitors will have the opportunity to watch an exhibition match featuring former U.S. Open and Florida State Champion Marvin Leff, get tips on technique and strategy. 

  Visitors may test their Table Tennis skills on regulation tables against one of the two Newgy Robo-Pongs, a training robot used to improve a players' technique and stroke through timed drills with a donation of $2 a session.

Art of the Olympians is hosting a Table Tennis Tournament on Saturday, September 17. For registration
details call 239-332-5055 and plan on attending the opening reception for the exhibit in the Olympian
Sport Gallery at the Art of the Olympians Al Oerter Center for Excellence at
1300 Hendry St., Fort Myers, FL. Admission to the reception is free of charge.

Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5.00, children under 10 are
free. The Gallery is closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays.