Bradley Warren Snyder was born in Reno, Nevada to Michael and Valarie Snyder. He swam while attending Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2006 with a degree in naval architecture; while there, he was captain of the swim team.
Snyder eventually became a lieutenant in the Navy, and served in Afghanistan as an explosive ordnance disposal officer. In September 2011, he lost both of his eyes after stepping on an IED in an attempt to help victims of another bombing. The explosion also gave him lacerations to his face and a shattered eardrum. Snyder subsequently spent three weeks in intensive care, and then recovered for another five weeks in Florida. He explained, “When you’re kind of patching your life back together and figuring out how to adjust to blindness, you’re not good at anything. Walking was a challenge. Cooking’s a challenge. Dressing and color matching is a challenge. There are all these things that used to be no problem that are all of a sudden really challenging. I had a hard time getting the right amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush, because I can’t see it.”
He joined the US Paralympic team and competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Snyder won two Gold medals and one Silver at London and three Gold and one Silver at Rio.
We honor you, Bradley Snyder.