surprise-deaflympics-basketball

It was in 1953. Basketball, not on the original
games agenda, was added at the last minute.
It caught the arriving Americans off guard.
The group of 7 American athletes (track and
tennis) traveled separately. The first
group which arrived only had 4 athletes.
An American tourist volunteered to be the
fifth player. And one of the five players
had not played basketball in 20 years.
This ragtag team lost its first game.

 

The next day, the second group of 3 Americans
arrived and were surprised to be asked to
play basketball. One of them, William
Van Spankeren, a track star, quickly became
the American’s one-man team. He helped the
Americans win the second game. And in the
final bronze medal game, he scored 44 points
to help the Americans win the bronze medal
game. He never again made basketball glory.

 

Since then, basketball has become a serious
sport for the Americans in future
Deaflympics.