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Multiuser systems can provide multiuser diversity gains by assigning channels to users with higher channel gains. To avoid the extensive information exchange with the access point for the uplink access in centralized approaches, we propose in this paper a distributed opportunistic access scheme. Through a judicious design of a novel backoff mechanism to utilize the channel information and reduce collisions, significant multiuser diversity gains are achieved. To a user, the higher the channel gain is, the smaller the backoff time-slot and, hence, the higher the access priority of that user is. In addition, for heterogeneous systems, our proposed scheme can realize multiuser diversity gains and achieve fairness among the users at the same time. Finally, we design two distributed opportunistic access schemes for OFDMA systems. Users contend on all sub-channels in the first scheme and only on several strongest sub-channels in the second scheme. Compared with traditional centralized OFDMA systems and other distributed access schemes, our proposed schemes reduce overhead and achieve a higher throughput.