TEAM USA AT THE
January 1, 2017
The 2016 Paralympic Games were held in Rio de Janeiro, marking the first time the Paralympic Games had been held in Latin America.
More than 4,300 athletes from more than 160 countries competed in 22 sports at the XV Paralympic Games, which reached a global audience in excess of 4 billion people for the first time.
The U.S. was one of 29 countries, represented by the 100 wheelchair tennis competitors from around the world, vying for gold in the men’s, women’s and quad events. The competition took place at the Barra Tennis Center, the same venue used for the Rio 2016 Olympic tennis event.
Wheelchair tennis was introduced to the Paralympic Games in 1988 as a demonstration sport and became a full medal event at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Quad doubles were later added in 2004.
Steve Baldwin and Jon Rydberg competed in the men's singles and Shelby Baron, Emmy Kaiser, Dana Mathewson and Kaitlyn Verfuerth represented the red, white and blue in the women's singles. ADVERTISEMENT Nicholas Taylor, David Wagner and Bryan Barten were three of the 16 competitiors in the men's quad singles.
Wagner and Taylor are among the most-decorated Paralympians on the planet. The duo won quad doubles gold in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. In Rio, the pair collected the silver medal, preserving their record of appearing in every Paralympics quad doubles final since the category was introduced in 2004.
Wagner also won silver medals in quad singles in 2004 and 2012, in addition to bronze medals in 2008 and 2016. Taylor added a bronze in London to his three quad double golds.
Team USA has won a total of 15 Paralympic Games tennis medals, including at least one medal in each of the six Games.
The 2020 summer Paralypic Games will be held in Tokyo, Japan.