ITFWorld Summer 2021

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04 Summer 2021 ITF World W elcome to the summer edition of ITFWorld. It is so exciting that the Olympic Games in Tokyo are only days away, while the Paralympics will soon take centre stage also. The Olympics mean so much to so many people, me included. When I was growing up in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, we would always gather around our black and white television set as a family and watch the Summer and Winter Olympics. In those days, we didn't watch TV very often but events like the US Open, Wimbledon and, in particular, the Olympic Games were big family occasions in the Haggerty household. I would sit on the floor and watch the action unfold, marvelling at the latest piece of brilliance or medal-winning moment. Thinking of those times certainly brings back some special memories from my childhood. Familiar face Swimming is a big deal in the United States and 553 Olympic medals in the pool is testament to that. While I also loved track and field, swimming was probably the sport which I followed most closely at the Olympics growing up. In fact, one of my earliest Olympic memories was watching the legendary Donna de Varona win two gold medals – in the 400m individual medley and 4x100m freestyle relay – at the 1964 Games, which were also held in Tokyo. Donna was a superstar, competing at the Olympics in Rome four years earlier aged just 13, while by the time she was 17 she had broken a staggering 18 world records. Incredible. I am now a member of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, as is Donna. I remember watching Donna perform heroics in the pool – it seems like yesterday – so to now be serving alongside her in an official capacity is quite remarkable. Strive for gold Tennis returned to the Olympic programme as a full-medal sport in 1988 and my first real experience of tennis at the Games was in Atlanta in 1996 when I was with sports manufacturer Dunlop. It has been thrilling to see tennis evolve over the years into the powerful Olympic sport which it is today. It is also fantastic to see what it means to players to participate in the Games and represent their country and how important it is to them to strive for gold. The Paralympic Games, meanwhile, continue to go from strength to strength with London 2012 really catapulting the Paras into the spotlight and indeed the living rooms of sports fans around the world. DAVID HAGGERTY ITF President IT'S ALM ST TIME ITF President David Haggerty uses his welcome address to look ahead to Tokyo 2020 and reminisce about inspirational Olympic and Paralympic moments from the past

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