Induction Year: 2001
Thomas Randall ‘Randy’ Snow (1959–2009) was a United States Paralympian from Terrell, Texas. Through his determination and skill, he increased the visibility of paraplegic sports worldwide, most importantly wheelchair tennis.
Randy was paralyzed from the waist down at age 16 when a 1,000 lb. bale of hay fell on him crushing his spine. At the time Snow was a state-ranked tennis player with ambitions of making it onto the pro tennis circuit. Despite this tragic accident, Snow never lost sight of his athletic pursuit for glory or wavered in his belief in the ability to overcome obstacles. He became one of the most influential wheelchair tennis players the world has ever known.
In 1977 while attending the University of Texas at Austin, Snow worked to develop a wheelchair basketball team, which was the first of its kind at the school. By 1980 Randy transferred to the University of Texas at Arlington to focus on wheelchair tennis training with then director of wheelchair sports, Jim Hayes. Even after Snow’s main focus became wheelchair tennis, he continued to participate in international tournaments for wheelchair racing and wheelchair basketball.
His extensive training and hard work paid off. At the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, Snow won the silver medal in the 1500m exhibition wheelchair race. This was the first time a wheelchair sporting event was presented to such a large, worldwide audience. The winning racers in the event received a standing ovation from the crowd. Snow won gold in the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona for singles and doubles tennis and a bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games as a member of the wheelchair basketball team.
In total Randy Snow won 22 major tournament titles over the course of his athletic career. In addition to the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame, United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
As a motivator, teacher and athlete, Snow was an inspiration for people all over the world. Snow was instrumental in promoting wheelchair tennis internationally through his camps, motivational speaking and athletic accomplishments. Snow’s motivational speaking firm was NO XQs Inc., a play on words meant to represent “no excuses”.
Randy Snow died in November of 2009 while volunteering at a wheelchair tennis camp in El Salvador.