Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Athlete Spotlight: Lex Gillette

Anybody that works out on a consistent basis knows what it’s like to just not feel like it sometimes. I get that feeling on occasion…times 100. Working out for a living is a blessing and a curse. Obviously the blessing is having the opportunity to better yourself day in and day out at something you are so passionate about and be able to call that your J.O.B. The curse is that when you are having a low energy day and don’t have much to give…tough cookies. But that’s life, right? At the end of the day you just find a way to get it done to the best of your ability. Part of my inspiration comes from the fact that I am surrounded all day by people striving to accomplish the same things that I am and that is an extremely strong motivator when you are having a not so fabulous day. I can think about giving a half-hearted effort until I look over and see one of my competitors run full out and that makes me push myself that much harder. And those days when I am standing at the back of the runway, complaining about this, that, or the other thing…I just have to look at Lex.

Lex Gillette is one of the paralympic athletes at the Olympic Training Center. He does the sprints as well as the Long Jump and Triple Jump, and he does them well… American Record holder type well. I should also mention that he is completely blind. To be able to watch an athlete like that on a daily basis go through the same workouts I do without the use of eyesight puts into perspective the triviality of anything I could possibly have to complain about. And while I know that most of you have probably never attempted to long jump or triple jump in your life, take my word that it is not that easy to do with perfect vision. If I tried to run down the runway with my eyes closed on a narrow strip of rubber, jump at a predetermined time, then land it, it would be a disaster. And if I tried to hop, skip, and then jump, it would probably require an ambulance. But Lex is an amazing person and a special athlete and to be able to witness his ability firsthand is nothing short of amazing.

His remarkable talents don’t stop there though. I have recently discovered that Lex is quite the singer as well. I wanted to post a snippet of him here doing his thing because to me he seems like the kind of person more people need to know about and be encouraged by. I know that he inspires me on a daily basis and that makes for quite the individual!

His voice is pretty good, don't you think?! This is one talented individual I tell ya.


kerry said...

how do they run in lanes with out seeing? are there noise beacons or is it just demolish derby. Then the same thing with the board, do they measure where ever they take off or what. The weird thing is i consider myself a track expert and here i am feeling like a jackass because i don't know a thing about it. I know there awareness level is heighten and the ears and noise is amplified to compensate yet i'm dumbfounded over here trying to picture them competing. Truthfully this reminds me of a movie i watched with my mother about a man in africa with one leg that road his bike across country, it made me ashamed of some of my lazy premadona tendacies. Great story, ted koppel and mike wallace aint got nothin on you

Brianna said...

good questions...

if you can tell in the picture of him running, that is a guide runner next to him that runs stride for stride with him during the race. when he jumps, there is someone at the end of the runway yelling "STRAIGHT" and clapping so he can follow that and go in a straight line, and then the person moves at the last second before he jumps and they measure from where he takes off but he still is pretty consistent.

Anonymous said...


Jon Lustig said...

Wow, that's amazing! I've followed his career for a long time but had no idea he was training there. Lex is a great role-model, and obviously not just for fellow blind people. And you are so right, I was listening to him sing and thought 'when he's done with track, he could literally be the next Luther Vandross, they sound that alike.'

Marcus said...

Great blog Bri. That was like a story from HBO Inside Sports. You're a great writer and a great person.

Jackie E. said...

This post definitely puts everything into the proper perspective for me as I deal with being injured! It was the perfect thing for me to read. Thanks.

Brianna said...

Lex did you hear that...LUTHER!! :)

@ marcus and joe ...thanks!

@ jackie... how is the achilles??

Erin Michell said...

Great post...very inspiring. It's a reminder that nothing is impossible with hard work and dedication!!!! Thanks for sharing :-)

t.v. said...

This blog brings out your caring, compassionate and thoughful side. :). Amazing blog.

Monday while I sat and watched the women's leg amputee race, I was amazed. So much talent in so many different forms.

I have much respect for paralympic athletes.

k. carli said...

Hey Bri - this is an absolutely wonderful post. Anyone who is doubting their ability to do anything should definitely read this. Thanks for sharing. This is definitely news worthy material ;0)


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