The water is where Brad Snyder feels most free. He learned to swim in Florida when he was still a toddler and began competing when he was 11 years old. Later, Brad became the captain of his swim team at the United States Naval Academy.
"I think living life with a visual impairment, living life blind, living life dark is what seemed impossible to us in the weeks after I sustained the injury… what I found in the Paralympics is that even though I can't see, there's still a whole world of things I'm still capable of."
When an injured Brad returned home from Afghanistan, he had to learn to find his way through the dark. His family stayed by his side, helping the once-resilient soldier complete simple tasks such as eating, dressing and finding the bathroom.
Quote I want for [my story] to go out into the atmosphere and inspire the next generation of athletes to dream about being on that Paralympic podium. Unquote
Just months into recovery, Brad decided to return to the waters that he found so familiar. One year to the day after his losing his eyesight while on duty, he proudly stood on the Paralympic podium to take home the gold for Team USA. Among swimmers with complete visual impairment, Brad is the current world-record holder for the 100-meter freestyle.
Today, Brad has a new ambition: to adopt a second sport and compete in the Paratriathlon in Tokyo 2020.
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