BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ)– No one captures the true spirit of the Rio Paralympic games more than Baltimore’s Brad Snyder.
The former Naval Academy swim team captain and Navy veteran lost his eyesight while fighting in Afghanistan in 2011. That fueled a quest to become the best swimmer in the world under new circumstances.
“I looked at blindness competitively. I wanted to be the best blind guy,” said Snyder.
The Baltimore native competed in five different events at the Paralympics in Rio, winning three gold medals, a silver and one world record, the fastest time ever in the 100 freestyle.
“For that to come to fruition and for me to break that mark was a really remarkable moment,” said Snyder.
This is Brad’s second Olympic games. He competed in London and won gold, just a year after he lost his vision on the battlefield in Afghanistan.
“That race in many ways represented how I was able to make a personal transformation and adapt to being blind, share that moment with my family and it was a remarkable moment,” said Snyder.
This year medal designers made sure Brad and other athletes who are visually impaired, know exactly when they are holding their gold medals. Each is weighted differently and inscriptions are in braille.
“To stand on top of a podium, to hear the anthem and to realize a goal that I had been training for the last four years there are not that many experiences in life that can reach that level,” said Snyder.
Snyder lives in Canton and trains at Loyola University Maryland.
He also teamed up with Under Armour to boost his training and he wrote a book about his journey called, Fire in My Eyes.