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National

Brad Parks named a finalist for U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Victoria Chiesa | May 05, 2022

Brad Parks, the founder of wheelchair tennis, is among six legends of Olympic and Paralympic sport who are up for inclusion in this year's U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame class.

 

The Class of 2022 will be announced on Wednesday, June 1, and inducted on Friday, June 24, during a ceremony at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo. It will be the first class inducted since 2019.

 

In addition to Parks, Billie Jean King is also up for induction as a special contributor. The pair looks to join the late Randy Snow as representatives from tennis who’ve been enshrined. In total, the finalists for this year's class include 15 Olympians, nine Paralympians, three Olympic teams, two Paralympic teams, six legends, three coaches and three special contributors. 

 

In unveiling the nominees earlier this week, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said: “Each finalist has had a profound impact on Team USA, and on the greater Olympic and Paralympic movements. We are proud to honor their work in living out the Olympic and Paralympic ideals, and we look forward to celebrating the Class of 2022.”

Paralyzed at age 19 in the 1970s after a freestyle skiing accident, Parks, from Orange, Calif., is credited with developing wheelchair tennis in its modern form, from the rules of the game to its playing techniques. He co-founded the National Foundation for Wheelchair Tennis in 1980 and went on to have a hand in shaping much of what the sport's administration is today. In 1988, the International Wheelchair Tennis Federation (IWTF) was founded at a meeting during the US Open, and a decade later, it was fully integrated into the International Tennis Federation (ITF), making wheelchair tennis the first disabled sport to achieve such a union at the international level. 

 

In the present, the ITF/ UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour boasts more than 160 tournaments across 40 different countries in every region of the world with more than $3 million in annual prize money. Wheelchair tennis has been part of the Paralympic Games since 1992—where Parks and Snow teamed to win a gold medal for the U.S. in doubles—and has been played at all four Grand Slams since 2007.

Photo credit: Steve Wylie Photography

For his efforts, Parks was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010, and received the Philippe Chatrier Award from the ITF—the organization’s highest honor—in 2016, given to individuals or organizations considered to have made outstanding contributions to tennis globally, both on and off the court. Both the USTA and ITF commission the Brad Parks Award annually, which recognizes others who have a game-changing impact on wheelchair tennis.  

 

Meet Brad Parks—story continues below video.

“The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame is an important guardian of the rich history of Team USA,” said USOPC Board Chair Susanne Lyons. “My sincere gratitude goes to all the finalists for representing the United States with amazing skill and pride, for working in support of the Olympic and Paralympic values, and using sport to drive positive change in their communities and around the world.”

 

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to celebrate the achievements of U.S. athletes in the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games. Its first class was inducted in 1983 and included Muhammad Ali, Bob Beamon, Peggy Fleming, Al Oerter, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Mark Spitz, Jim Thorpe and the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" men’s hockey team.

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