February 11 - American swimmer Bradley Snyder has been awarded the United States Sports Academy's 2012 Juan Antonio Samaranch Disabled Athlete Award after becoming a double Paralympic champion at London 2012.
The 28-year-old Afghanistan war veteran (pictured top, centre), who was blinded when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while trying to help victims of another bombing, won two gold medals in the S11 100 and 400 metres freestyle, as well as a silver in the 50m during last summer's Games.
Snyder was presented his award by Al Cantello, a long-time Academy member and current Navy cross country coach, at a US Naval Academy swim meet.
"I greatly appreciate and am deeply honoured to receive this award," said Snyder, who is still an active Navy lieutenant.
Snyder, who was the Team US flag bearer for the Paralympic Closing Ceremony, also holds several world records in swimming for visually impaired athletes, including the 100m freestyle.
During London 2012, he secured the S11 100m freestyle Paralympic record of 57.18sec in the preliminary heat before setting an American record of 25.27 in the 50m.
Perhaps the most remarkable achievement is his 400m gold, which he claimed in a time of 4min 32.41sec on the exact one-year anniversary of his injury.
As well as his success at the Paralympics, Snyder won four gold medals in swimming and three in track and field events at the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs last May, while at the US Paralympics swimming trials he won the 400m freestyle by beating his personal best time by 54 seconds to set the S11 world record of 4:35.62.
Snyder plans to continue his excellent form from London 2012 and will train for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The Samaranch Disabled Athlete Award is presented annually to an athlete who displays courage and desire in the face of adversity.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 2012: US war veteran and Warrior Games champ has hopes set on London 2012