WORHOF is pleased to announce the famous Outdoor National Championship doubles team from the 1980's era, Mark Harding and Paul Olson- as the second set of 2020 Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees:
The World Outdoor Racquetball Hall of Fame (WORHOF) Committee is honored to make a very special announcement...Legendary early men's pro/open doubles legends, Mark Harding and Paul Olson just made the 2020WORHOF Hall of Fame as one of the greatest doubles teams in history. This team which dominated during the 1980's won 7 titles overall, some together and some separately when an injury (or boredom struck) and would go on to beat the best players in probably the most competitive era in history- the 1980's. They had national championship wins over Hall of Famers Greg McDonald, Dan Southern, even over the player widely acknowledged to be the greatest singles star-20 time Outdoor National Outdoor Singles Champion Brian Hawkes and also indoor Hall of Famer Ed Andrews.
During the 1980's, at the Outdoor Nationals: a) Harding and Olson (together or separately) went on to win 6 of the 10 Outdoor Nationals pro/open doubles titles during the 1980's (and another one in age doubles) b) overall had 9 overall appearances in the finals c) 7 wins d) 2 final loses and e) a 3rd place in pro singles. Both were so dominant that they became unanimous inductees into our sport's greatest honor the Hall of Fame.
The committee members who had seen them play back in the heyday and the person who nominated them referred to them glowing with terms like "legendary", the "GOAT (greatest of all time) and "one of the best doubles team ever." Outdoor racquetball historian Steve Belmonte wrote, "When the names of the greatest doubles come up from the 1980's, everyone speaks with reverence about the famous and legendary team of Mike Harding and Paul Olson who terrorized the competition for years with their shot selection, uncanny placement and athleticism." Brian Hawkes, added almost jokingly," ...the dominant team of Harding and Olson. Yes I remember them." Finally, fellow Hall of Famer Dane Southern said, "They were the best team-the way they played at teamwork. Both were shooters and diggers. They were number one for years and the issue was if one got cold feet, the other was hot making them very difficult to ever beat."
Together, they dominated the 1980's decade of doubles-and possibly the most competitive era in history winning many doubles titles together and when one was sick or injured or needed a rare change of scenery, they won independently. They are part of the early star class of 2020 and join the first woman pro/open/A singles champions Betty Weed and Diane Heims.
Brett Elkins, Chairman and Co-Founder of WORHOF stated, "As part of our goal to induct the early stars of our sport, it is an honor to induct one of the greatest doubles team of the era into the Hall of Fame. Congratulations on a well deserved accomplishment."
Darold Key, WOR National Director stated, "Mark Harding and Paul Olson are two of the most dominant players in history.They ended up capturing 6 of the 10 the doubles titles for the pro/open in the 1980's era. This was an era when Brian Hawkes and Dan Southern never lost in singles but in fact struggled with the team of Harding and Olson in doubles."
The induction of Harding and Olson coincides with WOR's campaign to honor the greatest players from the 1970-1990s. Public submissions of applications are always taken first and voted on first. Please note that the committee at this time only accept a "detailed resume submission" for your favorite nominee including their major titles (or top 4 finishes), the years and finishes, the tournaments, their contributions etc. We regret that we cannot take general Hall of Fame suggestions-only completed submissions. Please visit the WORHOF site at WorldOutdoorRacquetball.net -- under Hall of Fame "inductees" and copy and paste your information. Then send it to Brett Elkins: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Normally, WORHOF would have the ceremony at the WOR Outdoor Nationals in July, but they are expected to be inducted at the Vegas 3WallBall event in September at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino so stay tuned.
The WORHOF committee is composed of WOR founder Hank Marcus, former WOR National Director Greg Lewerenz, current WOR National Director Darold Key; WORHOF chairman Brett Elkins and all of the past great inductees who vote including these legends: Brian Hawkes, Martha and Greg McDonald, Bob Wetzel and Barry Wallace, Charlie Brumfield, Dr. Bud., Robert "Iceman" Sostre, Freddy Ramirez, Marty Hogan, Craig "Clubber" Lane, Scott Hirsch, Franklin "Bud" Held, Lynn Adams Clay, Dan Southern, Vic Leibofsky, Greg Solis, Mike Coulter, Mike Peters, Diane Heims and Betty Weed and Davey Bledsoe in memoriam.