History-maker Brad Snyder becomes first American man to win triathlon gold at Paralympics

Brad Snyder becomes FIRST American man to win triathlon gold at Paralympics or Olympics as completely blind US Navy veteran wins PTVI men’s race… while Allysa Seely follows success by defending her crown


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Team USA’s Brad Snyder became the first American man to achieve the triathlon goal at the Paralympics or Olympics after winning the men’s PTVI race.

On another day of Tokyo drama, the US stormed to gold in two of the paratriathlon events, and US Navy veteran Snyder added another medal to his collection.

Snyder, who is also completely blind, led the competition as a whole, even extending his lead on the bike and 5k run legs to finish with a time of 1:01:16.

Brad Snyder (left) of Team USA becomes the first American man to win triathlon gold at the Paralympics

Brad Snyder (left) of Team USA becomes the first American man to win triathlon gold at the Paralympics

Snyder, who is completely blind, led the race in its entirety and took the win by just under a minute

Snyder, who is completely blind, led the race in its entirety and took the win by just under a minute

Snyder, who is completely blind, led the race in its entirety and took the win by just under a minute

Snyder, who was a seven-time medalist in swimming, finished the 750m stretch over the water more than a minute ahead of his closest competitor.

“I said in pre-race interviews that I wanted to finish with a smile on my face,” he said.

“That would have been a challenge if I finished sixth, so it seemed much more organic when I came in first.”

Led by Greg Billington (left), Snyder had extended his lead over the bike and 5k run legs

Led by Greg Billington (left), Snyder had extended his lead over the bike and 5k run legs

Led by Greg Billington (left), Snyder had extended his lead over the bike and 5k run legs

Snyder, 37, was led by Greg Billington and has now won gold in each of the last three Paralympic Games. He entered the race as eighth in the world.

He lost his eyesight in an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan in 2011, but was able to recover by going back into the pool.

In London, he won gold and silver in the 100m, 400m and 50m freestyle twice, and four years later he won three more golds in Rio, including a record 100m freestyle.

The visually impaired athletes ran the distance on the same course as the Olympics, and must compete with a guide.

Snyder (left) and Billington (right) are pictured shortly after receiving their gold medals

Snyder (left) and Billington (right) are pictured shortly after receiving their gold medals

Snyder (left) and Billington (right) are pictured shortly after receiving their gold medals

They are then guided by them through a chain for swimming and running, and by riding tandem with them for the bicycle leg.

PTVI athletes also race with a lead system, with completely blind participants a little over three minutes ahead of those who are partially blind.

Snyder managed to hold onto this lead and enjoyed quick transitions throughout the event to win by just under a minute.

Alyssa Seely defended her title in the women's PTS2 to claim another American gold in the triathlon

Alyssa Seely defended her title in the women's PTS2 to claim another American gold in the triathlon

Alyssa Seely defended her title in the women’s PTS2 to claim another American gold in the triathlon

There was even more paratriathlon glory for Team USA, with Allysa Seely defending her title in the women’s PTS2 race.

She made up for nearly a minute and a half into the first three laps of the run to take the lead for the final lap, taking gold with a time of 1:14:03.

Forced to fight back from several health issues, including endocarditis and blood clots, Seely was able to win her second gold.

Seely made up for almost a minute and a half to take the lead for the final lap and take the win

Seely made up for almost a minute and a half to take the lead for the final lap and take the win

Seely made up for almost a minute and a half to take the lead for the final lap and take the win

“Five years ago still feels like a fairy tale, and today I’m so grateful for the chance to be here and race,” said Seely.

“I said the day I won in Rio that gold was the goal here, and since then there have been so many ups and downs that it’s incredible to hit that goal.

“I want to be able to dedicate this gold medal to everyone who said they couldn’t, including the Afghan Paralympics whose dreams couldn’t be fulfilled.”

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