Died when: 50 years 179 days
Star Sign: Gemini
Randy Snow (24 May 1959 – 19 November 2009) was the first Paralympian to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. A native of Terrell, Texas, Snow was a state-ranked tennis player as a teenager, but at the age of 16, his spine was crushed by a 1000-pound bale of hay, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. After graduating, he enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin in 1977, where he indulged in the fraternity party life, until forming a wheelchair basketball team under the direction of Jim Hayes, the University of Texas at Arlington wheelchair sports director. Soon afterwards, he began wheelchair racing, and in 1980 transferred to Arlington in order to work with Hayes, eventually establishing himself as the best wheelchair tennis player in the United States. In 1984, the Summer Olympics added a men's 1500 meter wheelchair race as an exhibition event. Snow went into heavy training, relocating to Houston, Texas, to train on the same track as Carl Lewis. This was the first Paralympic event to appear before a large audience, and the public were unsure of their feelings for wheelchair-using athletes. Snow received a silver medal, and the crowd gave the athletes a standing ovation at the end of the exhibition. Snow went on to win gold medals in the 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona for singles and doubles tennis, and at the 1996 Atlanta Games was a member of the bronze medal-winning wheelchair basketball team. He also competed in men's wheelchair tennis singles at the 2000 Summer Paralympics but lost in the third round to eventual gold medalist David Hall of Australia. He was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame on July 1, 2004. Randy Snow died November 19, 2009 in El Salvador while volunteering at a wheelchair tennis camp. He was posthumously inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, on July 14, 2012.