Meet the Athletes

Lex Gillette

Lex Gillette

Elexis “Lex” Gillette won his first gold medal in the long jump, his main sport, at the 2002 USABA National Championships. He was just 17 years old. Two years later Lex competed in his first Paralympic Games in Athens, and took home silver and a new U.S. record for long jump.

Since then, Lex has won medals in the sport on an almost yearly basis. He won another silver at the Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008, and in 2011 broke the world record in the long jump for totally blind athletes at the Desert Challenge Games.

Although the long jump is Gillette’s main focus, he’s also medaled in the triple jump, taking bronze in 2011 at the IPC Athletics World Championships and setting a new American record at 12.55m. At that competition he took another bronze in the 200m sprint, showcasing his speed.

Lex started to lose his sight when he was eight years old, after recurrent retina detachments. He credits his mother, Verdina Simms, for encouraging him on the road to success. Today, in addition to his athletics, Gillette is a motivational speaker and a singer/song writer who recorded a song called “On the Stage,” available on iTunes. “I have a guide runner, and his mom has never had the opportunity to see us compete,” says Lex. He plans to use sales money from the song to fly her to a competition, “so she can see the impact her son has had on my athletic career.”

Lex Gillette’s website is at http://www.lexgillette.com/index.php, where he posts his personal credo: "No Need for Sight When You Have a Vision." He blogs at http://lexgillette.com/blog/, and also is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LexGillette and onTwitter @lexgillette.

He blogs for MEDAL QUEST in April and May.

Back To Athletes

LONG JUMP - Lex Gillette

More From PBS