Susan Sarandon's Ping-Pong Vacation in China

Yahoo TravelJune 26, 2014

Susan Sarandon traveled halfway around the world to play some ping-pong. (Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

Millions of people flock to China to visit the Great Wall, experience the cuisine, and see the Terracotta Army. Our editor even crossed an ocean to cuddle with a baby panda.

But Susan Sarandon? Oh, she did it for ping-pong. Naturally. 

Sarandon is the co-creator of SPiN, a series of ping-pong social clubs in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Dubai. On her Chinese ping-pong team: the actress herself, boyfriend Jonathan Bricklin, ping-pong guru Franck Raharinosy, and four other friends. In the Chinese competition, they played a team from Shanghai consisting of the city’s mayor, a fashion model, a former table tennis Olympian, and some regional personalities.

Related: Inside the Weird and Wonderful World Dodgeball Championships in Hong Kong

Susan Sarandon, ping-pong expert. (Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

“I lost [a match] so terribly in front of 40 million Chinese. I didn’t want to be in this tournament but my partners really did. I did it for them,” Sarandon told us when she flipped the switch to light NYC’s Empire State Building in celebration of Only Make Believe’s 15th anniversary.

“They said they would find somebody my level, but of course, I knew nothing about what was going on until I saw that all of my guys were really sad, Sarandon explained. “I realized I had lost it for SPiN — and the United States.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only downer during the trip. 

“I was there for about three weeks, and I got really bad pneumonia. The air is really bad!”

But the excursion wasn’t all a loss. Susan got to check out the Shanghai Film Festival before the ill-fated match. She also visited the Great Wall, and Hangzhou, including its “beautiful lake.”

a game of ping-pong
a game of ping-pong

Ping-pong separates the men from the boys and the girls from the ladies. (Photo: Thinkstock) 

If you’re Susan Sarandon, you can pretty much play ping-pong anywhere in the world.

“We have a club in Dubai with a gold-plated [tennis] table,” Susan said. Of course they do.

Hilary Sheinbaum is a New York-based writer who has contributed to national, regional, and online publications, including USA Today, Marie ClaireELLE.comamNew York, and

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