The Inspiring Journey of Blind Athlete Lex Gillette

Elexis “Lex” Gillette clinched his inaugural gold medal in the long jump, his primary sport, at the 2002 USABA National Championships when he was just 17 years old. Two years later, Lex made his debut at the Paralympic Games in Athens, where he secured a silver medal and established a new U.S. record in the long jump.

Since then, Lex has been a consistent medalist in the sport, earning accolades nearly every year. He added another silver medal to his collection at the Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008. In 2011, he made history by breaking the world record in the long jump for athletes with total blindness at the Desert Challenge Games.

While the long jump remains Gillette’s primary focus, he has also excelled in the triple jump, claiming bronze at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships and setting a new American record with a distance of 12.55 meters. Additionally, he showcased his speed by securing another bronze in the 200m sprint at the same competition.

Lex’s journey towards athletic success began at the age of eight when he started to lose his sight due to recurrent retina detachments. He attributes much of his success to his mother, Verdina Simms, whose unwavering support propelled him towards greatness. Today, in addition to his athletic pursuits, Gillette is a sought-after motivational speaker and a talented singer/songwriter. He even recorded a song titled “On the Stage,” available on iTunes. Lex’s deep appreciation for his guide runner is evident as he shares his plans to utilize the proceeds from the song’s sales to fulfill his dream of flying his guide runner’s mother to a competition, allowing her to witness firsthand the profound impact her son has had on Lex’s athletic journey.

Early Life and Challenges

Throughout his formative years, Lex encountered a multitude of obstacles as he traversed a society that frequently underestimated his capabilities. However, buoyed by the steadfast encouragement of his family and fueled by an unyielding determination, Lex steadfastly rejected the notion of allowing his disability to dictate his identity. Rather than succumbing to the limitations imposed upon him, he viewed each challenge as a chance to showcase his indomitable spirit and fortitude.

Discovering a Passion for Track and Field

In the crucible of his high school years, Lex stumbled upon his profound passion for track and field. Despite encountering skepticism from both coaches and peers initially, he swiftly dispelled any doubts about his abilities. Each stride, each leap became a testament to his innate talent and indelible determination. Lex’s prowess on the track not only defied expectations but also served as a compelling narrative of his ability to triumph over adversity.

Paralympic Success

Lex’s dedication and hard work eventually led him to the pinnacle of Paralympic glory. Competing in the long jump and triple jump events, he has clinched multiple medals on the world stage. His crowning achievement came in the form of a gold medal in the long jump at the Paralympic Games, solidifying his status as one of the greatest Paralympians of all time.

Beyond the Track

Outside of his athletic pursuits, Lex is a passionate advocate for the blind and visually impaired community. Through his motivational speaking engagements and outreach efforts, he strives to empower others to embrace their abilities and pursue their dreams fearlessly.


Lex Gillette’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, resilience, and unwavering faith. Despite facing darkness, both literal and metaphorical, he continues to shine brightly as a beacon of hope and inspiration to millions around the world. As we follow his remarkable odyssey, may we all be reminded that with courage and determination, anything is possible. Join me in celebrating the extraordinary legacy of Lex Gillette, a true champion in every sense of the word.

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