Tufts Alum Wins Gold in Paralympic Triathlon Race

Brad Snyder, F19, took home his sixth Paralympic gold medal overall with victory on August 27
Brad Snyder and Greg Billington hold an American flag after winning a triathlon race. Tufts alum Snyder took home his sixth Paralympics gold medal overall with victory on August 27
Brad Snyder and his guide Greg Billington celebrate after winning the Men’s Triathlon PTV1 race at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Photo: AP/Emilio Morenatti
August 30, 2021

Share

Brad Snyder, F19, won the paratriathlon gold medal in the PTV1 category of vision-impaired athletes at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo on August 27. It was his sixth Paralympics gold medal overall.

With the victory, Snyder became the first American man competing in an individual triathlon event to win gold in either the Paralympics or Olympics.

Visually impaired athletes used the same course where the Olympics were held in July, completing a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike race, and a 5-kilometer run.

The athletes race with a guide—in Snyder’s case with 2016 Olympian Greg Billington—who directs them through the race, rides a bike in tandem, and is connected with a tether on the swimming and running segments.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Snyder lost his vision in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2011. The next year, he won two gold medals and one silver in swimming at the 2012 London Paralympics. He then won three golds and one silver in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, where he set a record for the 100-meter freestyle.

"It’s been a long journey from the pool in Rio to the triathlon in Tokyo. I faced a lot of challenges along the way, as we all have, and there were a number of instances where I nearly gave up," he told Tufts Now. "Earlier this season, I had doubts that I’d even make the team, let alone win, so crossing the finish line first on Saturday was an incredible feeling."

He added, "No rest for the weary though… I start my third term towards a PhD at Princeton on Thursday!"

Snyder earned a master’s degree from The Fletcher School’s Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP). He is also the author of Fire in My Eyes: An American Warrior’s Journey from Being Blinded on the Battlefield to Gold Medal Victory.

Jumbo Olympians

Two other Tufts alumni and one incoming Tufts student also competed in the Tokyo Olympics this past July, while other Tufts graduates worked behind the scenes.

Gevvie Stone, M14, competed in the U.S. women’s double sculls with teammate Kristi Wagner. An emergency room physician who postponed her residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to train for this year’s Olympics, Stone won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She came in fifth in the finals this year.

Tyler Paige, E20, represented American Samoa in men’s doublehanded sailing as skipper in the 470 class, with teammate Adrian Hoesch. Paige and Hoesch came in 18th in race 10.

Gaurika Singh, A25, competed on Nepal’s swim team. Now a member of the Tufts swim team, Singh was the youngest athlete to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio when she was 13 years old. She came in third in heat 1 of the women’s 100-meter freestyle this year but did not advance to the semifinals.

Jumbos working outside the spotlight at the Olympics included Andrea Baldini, F19, coach for Turkey’s fencing team; Christopher Lee, A01, M05, team physician with Team USA Volleyball; and Timothy Ober, V90, veterinarian for the U.S. show jumping team.

Monica Jimenez can be reached at monica.jimenez@tufts.edu.