Growing up in East Texas in the mid-1970s, Randy Snow was a nationally-ranked junior tennis player. One day, though, Snow was operating a front-end loader, placing hay onto a trailer when a half-ton bale accidentally fell and crushed him. He was paralyzed, losing the use of his legs.
While it took some time for Snow to acclimate to his new condition, he soon regained the form that made him an elite athlete.
At the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, an exhibition 1,500-meter wheelchair race was held. It was the first Paralympic race before a big crowd; Snow finished second and took home the silver medal.
In addition to becoming a strong wheelchair racer, Snow also became a top wheelchair tennis player. At the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games, Snow won gold medals in men’s singles and men’s doubles. Four years later, Snow took the handoff from President Bill Clinton to begin the Paralympic Torch Relay from Washington to Atlanta for the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, where Snow would win a bronze medal in wheelchair basketball.
Four years later, at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, Snow competed in wheelchair tennis. He won 22 major tournament titles during his tennis career and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He was the first Paralympian inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Snow died in 2009 while volunteering at a tennis clinic in El Salvador. He was 50.