Blind lengthy jumper hopes to convey dwelling gold at Tokyo Paralympics

SAN DIEGO — When the summer time video games in Tokyo come to an finish, the highest athletes with disabilities from world wide will head to Tokyo for the Paralympics.

Blind lengthy jumper Lex Gillette, who trains on the Elite Athletes Coaching Middle in Chula Vista, might be part of the video games for the fifth time.

Gillette, 36, misplaced his eyesight when he was 8 years outdated and commenced lengthy leaping when he was 15.

“That got here out of a bodily health check we needed to take part in,” he stated.

When it got here to lengthy leaping, Gillette admits he was hesitant at first.

“Somebody asks you to run as quick as you’ll be able to with out with the ability to see something, that is actually scary, and it takes a whole lot of belief,” Gillette stated.

Jae C. Hong/AP

Blind Paralympic athlete Lex Gillette poses for pictures on the 2016 Crew USA Media Summit Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Picture/Jae C. Hong)

The excellent news is he was in a position to conquer his concern and is now among the best lengthy jumpers on the planet. In actual fact, he’s the world document holder within the occasion at 6.73 meters — greater than 22 ft.

He competed in his first Paralympic Video games in Athens in 2004 and might be now be competing in his fifth this 12 months — and, after all, he’s hoping to convey dwelling gold.

“Happily, I am nonetheless wholesome, robust, and quick. I am leaping far proper now, so sure, it is undoubtedly going to be a whole lot of enjoyable as all of the video games are totally different,” Gillette stated.


Lex Gillette of america, proper, jumps in the course of the Males’s Lengthy Soar F11 last on the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Video games Monday Sept. 15, 2008 in Beijing. Lex gained second place. (AP Picture/Eugene Hoshiko)

Clearly, Tokyo might be totally different because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I simply hope that everybody does their half and might keep socially distanced. I hope everybody follows the entire guidelines so that everybody can compete,” he stated.

When Gillette heads to Tokyo in a couple of weeks, he goes with one aim in thoughts. He has gained 4 silver medals on the Paralympic Video games, however he has by no means gained the gold.

David A. Barnes/AP

Lex Gillette talks together with his information Wesely Williams after competing within the males’s lengthy bounce T11 last on the 2016 Paralympic Video games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. In the course of the summer time Paralympics, guides are utilized in biking, equestrian, football-5-a-side, triathlon and monitor and discipline occasions. (David A. Barnes/College of Georgia through AP)

“I prepare Monday by means of Friday, three, typically 4 hours a day, in hopes of successful that gold medal,” Gillette stated. “So, I really feel that I’m ready; I do know that I’m ready. The one factor left to do is go to the Video games, do not put an excessive amount of strain on myself and do my best possible and have enjoyable within the course of.”

This story was initially printed by Steve Smith on Scripps station KGTV in San Diego.

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