The third "amigo" of the Team USA quad squad, Bryan Barten won his first career Paralympic match in straight sets.
© Steve Goldberg
By Bryan Barten, special to USTA.com
As the last days of the 2012 Paralympics are upon us, I have had a chance to reflect on this truly amazing experience. My personal experience began 14 years ago when I first tried wheelchair tennis. Since then, the sport has taken me around the world and allowed me to have unbelievable experiences.
The Paralympics have definitely been the pinnacle of my career. These are my first games after falling short for both Athens and Beijing. I am a 14 year veteran of the tour but a rookie at the games. It was great to feel butterflies in my stomach before my first match. It took me back to the days when I first started.
During my first match, I executed the game plan my coaches laid out for me and wound up with a win. Looking into the crowd and seeing my wife, brother, coaches and friends cheering and waving American flags is something I will never forget. Unfortunately I lost in the quarterfinals, but my first Paralympic win is what I will take from these games.
The Paralympics, as a whole, have been very successful. They are the largest games yet, and the media coverage over here has been fantastic. You can turn on the television at any time and find multiple channels broadcasting events. The venues are packed with fans, and all the people working the games are very helpful and enthusiastic. London has done an exceptional job with the Paralympics on all levels, and they should be very proud of this monumental accomplishment. I personally will be forever grateful for their efforts and the great memories I had here.
Right now I am looking forward to watching my teammates David Wagner and Nick Taylor compete for medals in singles. I also want to wish all the other USA athletes good luck. Rumor has it Cold Play will be performing at our closing ceremonies, so I am looking forward to that as well.
Go USA! Finish strong!