Blind swimmer Brad Snyder going for gold at the Paralympics

Olympic swimming looks like incredibly difficult work. In addition to trying to cruise through the water at amazing speeds, swimmers have to somehow figure out a way to see what they’re doing. Four years ago at the Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps spoke about how challenging it was to win one of his gold medals after his goggles filled with water the second he dove into the pool. What is an already tall task becomes seemingly impossible without vision, which is what makes the story of Navy Lt. Brad Snyder so amazing.

Snyder lost his eyesight a year ago while serving in Afghanistan after stepping on on a hidden bomb. According to NBCNews.com, he initially thought he had blood or dirt in his eyes before his worst fears were realized. On Friday night, Snyder will get back into the pool in search of a gold medal in London — one that would bring his total up to three medals at the Paralympics.

“Yes, I’m really competitive,” Snyder when talking about his desire to win. “The idea that there shouldn’t be anything in the way of barriers presented to you that slow you down. Yeah, (stuff) happens. But I hope this shows the value of attitude, of making a decision to not look back. I made that decision. From that point, it was all just about figuring it out and moving forward.”

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Intense Paralympics promo uses tagline ‘Meet the Superhumans’ (Video)

If you find yourself watching the Paralympics over the next 12 days and feeling badly for the athletes — don’t. The men and women from around the globe who will be competing may have been born with unfortunate birth defects or lost limbs in tragic accidents, but they are competing for medals like every other Olympian you have already watched at the London Olympics. And if you didn’t already see the athletes in the Paralympics as intense competitors, maybe the ad above that Channel 4 in Britain has been running will help.

“Forget everything you thought you knew about strength,” the ad that NBC News pointed out reads. “Forget everything you thought you knew about humans. It’s time to do battle. Meet the Superhumans.”

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