Randy Snow (USA) at an ITF Wheelchair Tennis Junior Camp
Wheelchair tennis superstar and three-time Paralympic medallist Randy Snow is to be inducted posthumously to the International Tennis Hall of Fame today as a member of the Class of 2012.
Snow will be inducted during the Class of 2012 Induction Ceremony in Newport, Rhode Island, as one of five inductees that also include Guga Kuerten and Jennifer Capriati.
Snow is the second wheelchair tennis player in history to be honoured with induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, joining Brad Parks, the pioneering founder of the sport, who was inducted in 2010.
In addition to his successful tennis career, Snow was a competitive basketball player and racer. Off the courts, he was an influential leader in the development of Wheelchair Tennis and a tireless advocate for improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. Snow’s Hall of Fame induction will be a posthumous recognition of his achievements and contributions to the sport. He passed away on November 19, 2009 in El Salvador while volunteering at a wheelchair tennis camp.
“Randy Snow was simply the best wheelchair player to have ever played the sport. Beyond his athletic success though, he played a major role in building the sport and he inspired so many others to play wheelchair tennis and other sports. He was among a dedicated group of people who worked very hard to grow wheelchair tennis and the inclusion of wheelchair athletes in the International Tennis Hall of Fame has been a great affirmation for the sport’s progress and importance,” said Parks. “It was a privilege for me to play alongside Randy and to call him a friend, and I am thrilled to see him receive the honour of Hall of Fame induction, which is very well deserved.”
"Randy Snow was an inspirational wheelchair tennis player and leader in the sport. He made remarkable contributions that have shaped the history of tennis and paved the way for the future,” said Tony Trabert, 1970 Hall of Famer and Chair of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. “We look forward to celebrating Randy’s achievements and contributions at the induction ceremony in July, along with those of the additional inductees who will be announced shortly.”
Originally from Terrell, Texas, Snow was a talented, determined athlete throughout his life. As a teenager, Snow was a ranked tennis player in the state of Texas, but when a farming accident left him a paraplegic at the age of 16, he refused to let the physical challenges fade his competitive spirit and athletic talent. Snow committed himself to wheelchair sports, to inspiring athletes worldwide, and to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. As a student at the University of Texas at Arlington, Snow formed a wheelchair basketball team under the direction of Jim Hayes, the university's wheelchair sports director. Soon after, he began wheelchair racing and also began training as a wheelchair tennis player, eventually establishing himself as the one of the world’s best.
As a tennis player he was ranked world No. 1 in singles and doubles in 1991, and he won 22 major tournament titles during his career. For many years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Snow was a member of the United States Men’s World Team Cup team,. Snow was the first ITF Wheelchair Tennis World Champion in 1991 and USA Wheelchair Athlete of the Year in 2000.
In 1984, the Summer Olympics added a men's 1500-meter wheelchair race as an exhibition event, which was to be the first Paralympic event to appear before a large audience. Snow went into heavy training, relocating to Houston, Texas, to train on the same track as Carl Lewis. Snow received a silver medal, and the crowd gave the athletes a standing ovation at the end of the exhibition.
He went on to win gold medals in the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona for singles and doubles tennis, becoming the first Paraylmpic champion for wheelchair tennis after the sport made its debut as a full medal sport at the Barcelona Games.
At the 1996 Atlanta Games he was a member of the bronze medal-winning wheelchair basketball team. In 2004, Snow became the first Paralympian to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
In addition to achieving success on court, Snow played an integral role in growing wheelchair tennis worldwide, and he worked tirelessly to inspire people with disabilities and improve their opportunities. In the 1990s, he served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and he worked extensively with the National Council on Disability. Snow conducted wheelchair tennis camps all over the world in nations ranging from Bolivia to Thailand, and he developed, managed, and taught at the "Randy Snow Wheelchair Tennis Camps" across the United States. In addition, he developed the USPTA certification for Wheelchair Tennis.
Snow also served as president of a motivational speaking company called NO XQs, Inc. ("no excuses"), where he spread the message that people should focus on discovering options and finding new opportunities, and that in order to succeed, people must have a 100% able-bodied mind.