I included the videos above to give you an idea of what wheelchair tennis looks like. One big difference is that two bounces are allowed, and the second one does NOT have to be within the lines. The video of Shingo Kunieda (winner of 13 Grand Slams) demonstrates at 1:08 how dexterous and fast a wheelchair tennis champion has to be.
There was a very moving, teary speech at the Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Ceremony by Randy Snow’s father. He described a son who loved athletics, was a state-ranked tennis player, but was paralyzed at 16, when a 1000-pound bale of hay fell on his back and paralyzed Randy from the waist down. At college he formed a wheelchair basketball team, did wheelchair racing, and then became the best wheelchair tennis player in the United States.
Randy won the US Open Men’s Singles wheelchair tennis championships 10 years, he won six US doubles championships, he won gold medals in tennis wheelchair singles and doubles paralympic games in 1992. And he also won basketball and racing awards, all of which you can see here .
In 1980 he connected with Marilyn Hamilton, who was disabled from a hang-gliding crash, and had developed the aluminum frame, modular Quickie wheel chair that Randy adopted for all his sports. After Randy died in 2010, Marilyn wrote, “He was the right man at the right time for wheelchair sports—a tenacious pioneer who opened doors, pushed limits, inspired some of the world’s greatest athletes, and created awareness that positively changed the attitudes of many in the able-bodied world.”
Wheelchair tennis founder Brad Parks, who is also in the Newport Hall of Fame and was at the ceremony last week, said this about Randy in 2010: “Randy was like a sponge—he just wanted to get better at everything he did…He was one of the most influential wheelchair athletes of all time.” Brad is in the video below.
By the 1990s, Randy had firmly established himself as a living legend. At the 1996 Paralympic Games, he took the Paralympic torch from President Clinton at the White House. Later, he took a torch from President George W. Bush to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. He won accolades from four presidents—Ford, Reagan, Bush (Sr.) and Clinton—and earned a master’s degree in psychology.
Randy started his own motivational company in 1999. He called it NOXQS, “no excuses.” He became a Fortune 500 speaker, wrote several books, aspired to be a college professor and challenged listeners with such statements as “Change is inevitable; direction is choice,” and “Life takes a 100-percent, able-bodied mind to succeed.”
You can learn more here about Randy’s Push Forward Foundation and also his motivational videos, one of which is below, so you can enjoy his energy and some ideas for success. I think I saw a quote by him in the Hall of Fame that said, “I did not have a disability, but an opportunity.” or “My disability turned into a great opportunity. Either way, this remarkable man became a great athlete, leader and influence.