Two-time Paralympic doubles gold medalist will try to win an elusive singles gold, in addition to partnering once again with Nick Taylor.
© Natalie Behring
By David Wagner, special to USTA.com
Coming into our third Paralympics all I can think of setting an unprecedented record of a three-peat! With opening ceremonies tonight in London, it’s time for me to reflect not only on past opening ceremonies but also on the past 17 years.
On August 28, 1995 I had my life-changing event where I became paralyzed while on the beach in Redondo, CA. I was on summer vacation and I got flipped over by a wave that jackknifed my body, slamming my head into the ocean floor. As a result I broke my neck. That was 17 years ago to the day before Opening Ceremonies of my third Paralympics. It was great to be part of the Opening Ceremonies again as it was 17 years almost to the day of my accident. The organizers did a great job and it was awesome to be part of the spectacle.
When the accident happened I didn’t know about this sort of injury or the Paralympics. As I moved through rehab I began to learn about disabled sport and actually began competing in wheelchair table tennis. I was drawn to this sport because I was able to play during rehab with friends and family in the hospital. Prior to my accident I had played on my Community College tennis team and enjoyed the sport. When I went back to college I began dating a girl who liked tennis. I was then looking through "Sports & Spokes" magazine and saw a camp in the Beaverton, OR area. I thought it would be a great opportunity to see what it was about and attended the camp where Dan James, Rick Draney, Randy Snow were instructors. Fortunately, I had my first start with the best of the best!