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7 U.S. Paralympic Athletes Who Prove It's Not What You Can See, It's What You Can Be

Rio2016 is not over yet! Get ready for the intense excitement of 23 Paralympic sports. 528 events over the course of 11 days of competition will yield 225 medals for women, 265 for men and 38 mixed medals. Meet seven of those athletes on Team USA!

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1. Brad Snyder - Swimming

A lieutenant in the Navy, Brad lost his sight after an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on a mission in Afghanistan in August 2011. A year later, to the day, Snyder won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. In total, he competed in seven events and won two golds and one silver at the 2012 Games. He's back at it again in Rio!
2013 Getty Images / Via teamusa.org

A lieutenant in the Navy, Brad lost his sight after an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on a mission in Afghanistan in August 2011. A year later, to the day, Snyder won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. In total, he competed in seven events and won two golds and one silver at the 2012 Games. He's back at it again in Rio!

2. Lex Gillettes - Track and Field

"It's like I'm on an island," Gillette said of the process. "… If I can't hear him, it seems devastating, because if I can't hear, I can't see. So making sure that he's loud, making sure that he's the only person I need to focus on in that stadium — no one in the crowd, no one to the right of me, to the left of me — listening to him and running at him as fast as possible and making sure I have a good run and great technique and being able to get out there and jump really far."
sportingnews.com / Via sports.yahoo.com

"It's like I'm on an island," Gillette said of the process. "… If I can't hear him, it seems devastating, because if I can't hear, I can't see. So making sure that he's loud, making sure that he's the only person I need to focus on in that stadium — no one in the crowd, no one to the right of me, to the left of me — listening to him and running at him as fast as possible and making sure I have a good run and great technique and being able to get out there and jump really far."

3. Martha Ruether - Swimming

“Whenever I get on the block and I know it’s going to be a challenging race, I remember that I’m not only doing this for myself, but for all of those people who I inspire,” said Ruether.
Bill Wendall / Via oleantimesherald.com

“Whenever I get on the block and I know it’s going to be a challenging race, I remember that I’m not only doing this for myself, but for all of those people who I inspire,” said Ruether.

4. Joe Hamilton - Goalball

Goalball is designed to be played without sight, relying only on players’ sense of hearing. “I liken it to tennis. The rise and fall of the action is kind of mirrored in the crowd reaction,” said Joe. “I certainly love it when a goal comes close to scoring and the crowd reacts.”
Scripps Howard News Service Photo / Via hometownlife.com

Goalball is designed to be played without sight, relying only on players’ sense of hearing. “I liken it to tennis. The rise and fall of the action is kind of mirrored in the crowd reaction,” said Joe. “I certainly love it when a goal comes close to scoring and the crowd reacts.”

5. Myles Porter - Judo

Myles has spent several years as the top ranked Paralympic judo competitor at 220 pounds in the United States. He’s the first visually impaired athlete to be ranked nationally by the International Judo Federation. Rio will be his third Paralympic Games!
File photo / Via thenews-messenger.com

Myles has spent several years as the top ranked Paralympic judo competitor at 220 pounds in the United States. He’s the first visually impaired athlete to be ranked nationally by the International Judo Federation. Rio will be his third Paralympic Games!

6. Cailin Currie - Swimming

An accomplished swimmer in the 400-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter backstroke and 100-meter freestyle, Cailin has Aniridia, an eye disorder that creates a sensitivity to light and a constant blur, but she doesn’t allow the condition to affect her. She gets more satisfaction helping other athletes with disabilities than her own individual accomplishments through her involvement with many of her own mentors.
Wicked Local Staff Photo David Sokol / Via danvers.wickedlocal.com

An accomplished swimmer in the 400-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter backstroke and 100-meter freestyle, Cailin has Aniridia, an eye disorder that creates a sensitivity to light and a constant blur, but she doesn’t allow the condition to affect her. She gets more satisfaction helping other athletes with disabilities than her own individual accomplishments through her involvement with many of her own mentors.

7. Sydney Collier - Equestrian

"The best advice I could give to someone starting out in Para-dressage is to never give up," said Sydney. "Every day has its ups and downs but the key to success in any sport really is to stick with it and train as much as you can so that you're ready for anything thrown your way."
Luc Percival / Via paralympic.org

"The best advice I could give to someone starting out in Para-dressage is to never give up," said Sydney. "Every day has its ups and downs but the key to success in any sport really is to stick with it and train as much as you can so that you're ready for anything thrown your way."

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