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Kevin Saunders

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December 8, 1955 (68)

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Kevin Saunders is an American Paralympian, motivational speaker, author, and athlete, renowned for his achievements in wheelchair sports and his contributions to fitness and nutrition policy. As the first person from Kansas to join and medal at the Paralympic Team USA, he made a significant mark at the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. Saunders is also recognized for his unique distinction of serving on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition under two different administrations, appointed first by President George H. W. Bush and later reappointed by President Bill Clinton.

Saunders’ career in sports and public service began following a life-changing accident in 1981, which left him paralyzed from the chest down. Despite this setback, he emerged as a prominent figure in wheelchair athletics, participating in various national and international competitions. His athletic prowess was evident as he won numerous medals, including at the National Wheelchair Athletic Association’s Track and Field competition and the Paralympic Games. Saunders’ involvement in sports extended beyond competition, as he played a vital role in promoting fitness and health for people with disabilities.

His collaborations with influential figures have been a notable aspect of his career. Saunders worked alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, and interacted with leaders like Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and President George H. W. Bush.

Saunders’ contributions have been acknowledged through various awards and recognitions. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016, honoring his achievements as a world and international champion, and a multiple Paralympic and Pan American Games medalist. His recognition as a Distinguished Alumnus from Kansas State University College of Agriculture and the recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award from the American Association of Community Colleges further highlight his diverse accomplishments and enduring influence in the realms of sports, fitness, and public service.