Elexis “Lex” Gillette is a globally recognized Paralympic track and field athlete and is graduate of East Carolina University, where he majored in recreation management. He is the current world record holder in the long jump, a four-time Paralympic medalist, a three-time long jump world champion, and an 18-time national champion. Lex is the only totally blind athlete to ever eclipse the 22-foot barrier in the long jump. Not only is he an inspiration on the field, Lex is also a motivational speaker; who has spoken to organizations both large and small, including Fortune 500 corporations, trade associations, professional sports teams, non-profit foundations, and school districts. In addition, Lex is a singer/song-writer who recorded a song called, “On the Stage.”
At the age of seven, Lex started to lose his vision. He underwent a series of recurrent retina detachments and surgeries in response. By the age of eight, he knew he would be blind, but he continued to excel in school with his sighted peers. He learned to use a folding cane and his school provided him with braille alternatives to reading assignments. HIs mother, Verdina, invested in him the skills to live independently and achieve success.
Lex has reframed moments of uncertainty into moments of opportunity. His phrase, “No Need for Sight When You Have a Vision®,” epitomizes the “no excuses'' approach to living life to the fullest. Lex’s book, FLY!: Find Your Own Wings And Soar Above Life's Challenges tells his great story and his important, inspirational messages. Due to postponement of the Tokyo Paralympics, Lex will have to wait for his next chance to win a gold medal. Nonetheless Lex states, “There is nothing that can deter us from realizing our dreams.” With an additional year to prepare, Lex is ready to go for the gold in 2021!
Interviewed by our Different & Able Executive Director, Kristina Spiropoulos, Lex shares his experience with blindness and highlights his athletic career. His enthusiastic and spirited personality shines in the interview, as he discusses his love of sneakers, music, and his multifaceted life, on and off the field. Lex continues to prove, with every jump that, “For those determined to fly, having no wings is just a little detail.”