Lifestyle & Belief

Bradley Snyder wins Paralympic gold exactly 1 year after bomb blast (VIDEO)


Bradley Snyder of the United States celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 400m Freestyle - S11 final on day 9 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on September 7, 2012 in London, England.


Shaun Botterill

If American Paralympic swimmer Bradley Snyder’s road to recovery is paved with gold, he should have no troubles.

After all, the road has been a short one – think expressway – and he keeps winning gold at the 2012 London Paralympic games.

Exactly one year after a roadside bomb stole Snyder’s sight, the US Navy veteran won the 400-meter freestyle race in England today.

It was his second gold in London and third overall after winning the 100 and 50 freestyle races earlier at the Games.

While he will never fully recover, he’s not letting blindness keep him from achieving new goals.

“I hope this shows the value of attitude, of making a decision to not look back,” Snyder told NBC News before his latest triumph. “I made that decision. From that point, it was all just about figuring it out and moving forward.”

Snyder, 28, was helping another soldier when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

He could see shortly after the incident, but just long enough to ensure he wasn’t missing any limbs.

“I remember the actual blast itself, I remember waking up on the ground,” Snyder said, CBS News reported.

Captain of the Navy swim team in Annapolis, Maryland, he was back in the pool five weeks after his injury.

“To be able to hop into the pool and experience success on the level that I've experience here at the Paralympics just gives me an immense amount of confidence moving forward into life,” he told CBS.

He has one more event to compete in, the 200 IM on Saturday.

Snyder said he hopes stories like his – and the many others from the Paralympics – are inspiration.

The American Paralympic team has 20 wounded veterans, six from Afghanistan or Iraq, The Associated Press reported.

Snyder’s story is amazing, but not singular.

“To put a different uniform on, to put a track uniform on instead of my country's combat uniform — it's a big honor,” sprinter Chris Clemens told the AP.

“It allows me to escape my injury. … It truly allows me to feel free. I see the disability gone.”

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