FORT WAYNE, Ind. — With the Summer Olympics wrapped up, the Paralympics are taking center stage in Tokyo.
Among the athletes with Indiana ties participating in the Games, a Huntington native is chasing his dreams to win gold in a unique sport.
Goalball involves a three-pound ball that has bells inside. Now, imagine trying to stop it as it is coming at you at 40 miles an hour - and you can't see it.
"I got smacked in the face so hard a couple of weeks ago that my eyeshade flew off, you get hit pretty hard but you just keep fighting and going back out there," said Zach Buhler.
Buhler lost most of his vision at the age of 12, but he never lost his desire for competition.
"Just having goalball just really allowed me to get on the biggest stage I can be on...the Paralympics," Buhler said. "I am just so grateful for them. It has been completely life changing and so big in my life that I couldn't help but fall in love with it."
Buhler is one of the top goalball players in the country. He is a natural with his speed and athletic ability.
"He is a phenomenal athlete and teammate...great young man to teach and coach. I have had the honor of coaching him in club seasons as well," said Jake Czechowski, Buhler's coach. "He can't get enough information. He always wants more. If we finish practice, he wants five more minutes. If he misses a shot, he wants five more thrown right at him. That's the kind of athlete that you really enjoy coaching and rooting for on the court."
Buhler and his teammates are one of the favorites to win a gold medal.
"So humbling and I feel honored to be a part of this team just being on it for five years. Just making it to this stage is incredible. I am so stoked to go to Tokyo soon and represent Team USA," Buhler said.
Team USA begins their quest for goalball gold Thursday, Aug. 26 at 12:15 a.m. EDT against Brazil. After four preliminary games, the top eight teams will be seeded into a bracket to determine medal winners.