Blind long jumper hopes to bring home gold at Tokyo Paralympics

Paralympics - Paralympian Guides
Lex Gillette
Lex Gillette
Lex Gillette.png
Posted at 4:27 PM, Jul 21, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- When the summer games in Tokyo come to an end, the top disabled athletes from around the world will head to Tokyo for the Paralympics. Blind long jumper Lex Gillette, who trains at the Elite Athletes Training Center in Chula Vista, will be a part of the games for the fifth time.

Gillette, 36, lost his eyesight when he was eight-years-old, and began long jumping when he was 15.

"That came out of a physical fitness test we had to participate in," he said.

When it came to long jumping, Lex admits he was hesitant at first.

"Someone asks you to run as fast as you can without you being able to see anything, that's really scary and it takes a lot of trust," said Lex.

The good news is he was able to conquer his fear and is now one of the best long jumpers in the world. In fact, he is the world record holder in the event. He competed in his first Paralympic games in 2004 and will be now be competing in his fifth this year — and, of course, is hoping to bring home gold.

"Fortunately I'm still healthy, strong, and fast. I'm jumping far right now, so yes, it's definitely going to be a lot of fun as all the games are different," Lex said.

Obviously, Tokyo will be different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I just hope that everyone does their part and can stay socially distanced. I hope everyone follows all of the rules so that everyone can compete," he said.

When Lex heads to Tokyo in a few weeks, he goes with one goal in mind. He has won four silver medals at the Paralympic Games but he has never won the gold.

"I train Monday through Friday, sometimes three to four hours a day, in hopes of winning that gold medal. I feel that I am prepared, I know that I am prepared. The only thing left to do is go to the games, don't put too much pressure on myself, and do my absolute best while having fun in the process," Lex said.