Graduate Wins Paralympic Gold
Graduate Competes in London Games
By: Rosa Jimenez
Eleven years ago, when David Wagner played his first professional wheelchair match, he never would have guessed where it would lead.
Today, the former Walla Walla resident and Walla Walla University graduate is a Paralympic medalist.
Wagner and his doubles partner, Nick Taylor, won gold medals in the Quad Doubles Wheelchair tennis match held Day 7 of London Paralympic Games held August 29 through September 9. The duo beat Great Britain to earn the top spot. Their win gave the athletes their third consecutive gold medal win in the Paralympic Quad doubles.
Wagner also competed in wheelchair quad singles, earning a silver medal.
“I always dreamed I might reach this level, but I never really thought it would happen. I just wanted to be the best I could be at this sport,” Wagner says.
This is the third Paralympics event Wagner has competed in. In 2002, when it was announced that quad doubles would become a full medal Paralympic sport, Wagner set his sights on the 2004 Athens games. Between the games in Athens and China (2008), Wagner has won two gold medals, one silver medal, and one bronze medal in singles and doubles. He also currently holds the number one world ranking in both singles and doubles wheelchair tennis.
Wagner was introduced to the sport in 1999, when he first attended a tennis camp. He soon began competing in amateur division matches, and played his first professional level open tournament in 2001. He has been playing professionally since 2002.
Currently, Wagner lives at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., but still considers the Northwest home. His official residence is in Hillsboro, Calif.
Wagner and his family lived in Walla Walla from 1986 to 2000. He attended Rogers Elementary School and Walla Walla High School. He graduated from WWU in 2000.
Wagner studied education in college and worked as a substitute teacher in elementary education before launching his professional career.