Basketball star Mike Schlappi is one of six Utah Olympians in Seoul this week. But he isn't playing on an ordinary basketball team.
Schlappi, who in 1986 was ranked No. 1 in national Class A singles tennis, is a member of the U.S. Olympic Wheelchair Basketball Team.Paralyzed from the waist down as the result of a shooting accident when he was 15, Schlappi has worked for 10 years to become one of the best basketball players in the world.
The Orem native beat out more than 280 other players for a spot on the team, which is playing at the Para-Olympics through Oct. 27. He's the youngest member of the team.
"I was incredibly excited when I found out I was going," he said. "I try to stay on a pretty even level emotionally, not getting too up or down about anything, but it was impossible not to get excited over making the Olympic team."
He now lives in Tempe, Ariz., with his wife, Sue, and year-old son, Matt, while he works on his master's degree in business administration at Arizona State University.