LONDON – U.S. Paralympic swimmer Brad Snyder was selected today to serve as the United States’ flag bearer for the Sept. 9 Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the United States Olympic Committee announced. Snyder was chosen by a vote of fellow members of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team.
“This Games experience is the result of all of my support from my family, friends, coaches and countless others. The medals don’t mean anything to me, but they are a thank you to my support network and my team,” Snyder said. “To be able to carry the flag for my team, my country, that is what means a lot to me.”
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Snyder, a three-time medalist at the Games, was serving in Afghanistan in September 2011 when he stepped on improvised explosive device (IED). The blast, which occurred on Sept. 7, 2011, blinded Snyder. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Snyder returned to the pool following his injury and celebrated the one year anniversary of the blast by winning the gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle (S11). It was his second gold of the Games.
The toughest part of rehab was being taken out of the fight, not being able to serve anymore, not the way that I used to,” he said. “To be able to come out here and to keep in the fight and keep going and keep inspiring, and keep perpetuating some goodwill for our country means a lot. And to be able to carry that flag for my team (tomorrow)… that’s probably the best thing to come away from this experience.”
A month after he competed at the 2012 Warrior Games presented by Deloitte, a competition for wounded, ill and injured service members held in May in Colorado Springs, Colo., he made his first U.S. Paralympic Team in June. One of 20 U.S. military veterans and service members of the 2012 roster, Snyder has won two golds and one silver in London, inspiring fans around the world with his spirit.
“Congratulations to Brad Snyder on being named the United States flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “As the Games come to a close in London, where the Paralympic Movement began in 1948 with wounded World War II veterans, it is especially fitting to have one of our nation’s finest service members carry the Stars and Stripes into this celebration of humanity. Last September, Brad lost his sight in an IED explosion while serving our country in Afghanistan. Now he represents our country as one of the world’s greatest swimmers. His service on the battle field has been extraordinary and I am excited he now wears the colors of our nation on the field of play."
For more information, please contact Jamie Blanchard, U.S. Paralympics, at firstname.lastname@example.org.