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Team USA Talks

The many trials of local Olympic hopefuls


(page 1 of 4)

lex gillette training

Photo by Jay Reilly

Lex Gillette training on the right

Lex Gillette

Paralympic Track & Field (Visually impaired, long jump and sprints)

5   things you don’t know about my sport:

  • Even though I’m blind, I’m still required to wear a blindfold when competing in my events.
  • In the sprinting events, I’m given two lanes to allow for a guide runner. This person gives me direction so I know where to run on the track.
  • It takes me about 45 minutes to warm up, but only 11.2 seconds to finish the 100-meter sprint.
  • In my running approach for the long jump, it takes me 16 running strides to cover approximately 110 feet.
  • Since I rely on someone to give me audible cues when to jump, I have to concentrate and listen intently to where I need to run, especially when crowds are more than 80,000 people.

Even though I’m blind, I’m still required to wear a blindfold when competing in my events.

Click here to read an exclusive interview with Lex

Carrie Johnson


5   things you don’t know about my sport:

  • There are two Olympic canoe/kayak disciplines: sprint and slalom.
  • In flatwater sprint, we compete in eight-lane heats, semis, and finals over 500 and 200 meters.
  • My boat must weigh at least 12 kilograms (about 26 pounds) for competition. It is made of carbon fiber.
  • My workouts range from 90-minute steady paddles to 10-second all-out sprints.
  • I have Teflon on my seat to help me rotate more freely.

Will Claye

Track & Field (Triple Jump)

5   things you don’t know about my sport:

  • Track is the most watched sport in the Olympics.
  • I train for the triple jump for 10 months... and it only takes me seven seconds to run, hop, skip, and jump to a gold medal at the Olympics. It’s all worth it!
  • Making the Olympic Track and Field team in America is sometimes harder than winning a medal at the Olympic Games, because we have so much talent in the U.S.
  • We do a lot more than just run in circles all day.
  • Track athletes get to travel the world while competing on the pro circuit.
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