Despite losing his left arm in a railroad accident when he was seven years old, George Quam took up handball. Despite the handicap, he would enjoy remarkable success in handball.

He started playing handball as a teenager and, five years after he had started playing, he won his first title (at the Minneapolis YMCA)

He won 25 consecutive Minneapolis Athletic Club singles championships and eight doubles championships. He also eight Northwest Region singles championships.

During one national tour he competed against club and regional champions and won 140 out of 156 matches. He defeated George Nelson, the year after Nelson had won the national singles title. That victory earned Quam an invitation to the White House where he met with President Herbert Hoover.

In 1954, Quam was featured in a 27-card multi-sport set published by Quaker Oats. The back of the card described Quam's talents, "He developed uncanny skill with backhand drives, low bounces, skimmers along the wall, high loopers and backwall shots."

He continued to play in tournaments into his 60s.

"I've had more fun playing handball than any other activity," Quam told U.S. Handball, "handball has been the vehicle by which I won my way out of darkness and despair...I don't believe that having one hand has been a handicap...Everyone is given more natural ability, equipment and talent than we will ever use. Success is not going to be determined by what you have to work with, but how you use what you have."

Quam is a member of the U.S. Handball Hall of Fame and the Helms Hall of Fame in Los Angeles.


Class: 1963.

Sport: Handball.