This American Paralympian’s Reaction To Medaling Is What Makes Sports Great

The Paralympics take place directly after the Olympics, which means they’re happening now in Brazil. You can be forgiven for being fatigued from the two-plus weeks of international competition and tuning out the less-famous follow-up, but allow us to present an argument in favor of keeping attention: Sophia Herzog, who won silver in the 100 meter SB6 breaststroke on Thursday night.

Sophia’s interview when she finished second in her event is as pure an expression of athletic joy as you’ll see. That’s really all there needs to be said about it, and even those words don’t do the video justice.

Due to the variety of physical impairments among competitors at the Paralympics, different classifications can apply to different swimmers. “SB” is the classification given to breaststroke, while Herzog more generally fits into the S6/SB5 classification — “swimmers with short stature or amputations of both arms, or moderate co-ordination problems on one side of their body, for example.”

S7/SB6 is defined as “athletes with one leg and one arm amputation on opposite sides, or a paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side.” None of that matters anywhere near as much as the look on Sophie’s face in that interview, anyway. Of course, it says a lot about the stature of the Paralympics in the eyes of TV producers that Herzog had to post the video herself from what looks like a DVR recording of NBC Sports’ live coverage. Respect the athletes, NBC!