athlete & speaker
A Recognized champion
Lex is the best totally blind long and triple jumper in the history of the U.S. Paralympic movement. He is the current world record holder in the long jump, a five-time Paralympic medalist, a four-time long jump world champion, and an 18-time national champion. He is the only totally blind athlete to ever eclipse the 22-foot barrier in the long jump.
Many of his fellow eight-year-olds could be seen riding bicycles, shooting baskets, or frolicking on nearby playgrounds, but Lex was dealing with a far more challenging opponent. His sight began to slowly fade entirely due to recurrent retina detachments. Ten operations failed to stabilize what little sight he had left. After the final surgery, Lex’s mother Verdina Gillette-Simms, had the difficult task of telling her son he would likely never see again. She vowed to teach Lex everything he would need to know to be successful in life. Her hard work and love were the foundation for Lex’s accomplishments.
A dream come true
At the age of 19, Lex won his first Paralympic silver medal in the long jump. His achievements at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, Greece were the culmination of years of hard work and training. Since that time, Lex has solidified himself as a tenacious competitor for Team USA. Each of his athletic performances since that time have resulted in medals with the most recent being silver in the long jump at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Lex now has not only competed in but medaled in five consecutive Paralympic Games and he's looking for more. Ultimately, there is one goal, and that is to win gold for the United States of America. As an athlete, motivational speaker, and singer-songwriter, Lex epitomizes the phrase “No Need for Sight When You Have a Vision ®”.
Lex is a highly sought-after inspirational African American keynote speaker who empowers his audiences to gaze beyond the horizon and see more than what is in front of their eyes.
There is no need for sight when you have a vision.© In fact, Lex proclaims that it wasn’t until he became blind that he was truly able to see. As he writes in his book FLY!, “Vision gives you strength. You see what can be, and maybe what ought to be. Your focus shifts away from what’s in your way, to what lies beyond your current reality.”
Lex has a unique perspective as a Black, blind Paralympic speaker. His presentation topics include visionary leadership, culture, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), ableism, growth mindset, resilience, and high performance, to name a few.
Contact us today to start securing a better future through Lex's motivational addresses. He proudly serves audiences throughout the nation, and beyond.
Lex’s athletic career includes many achievements and awards
2021 Silver Medalist, Long Jump
Tokyo Paralympic Games, Tokyo Japan
2019Gold Medalist, Long Jump
Para-Athletics World Championships, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2017Gold Medalist, Long Jump
Para-Athletics World Championships, London, England
Please open this PDF to view all of Lex's accomplishments
Respected Author, Lex's first book, Fly! has received praise for its message of inspiration, courage and hope. He is currently writing a second book to be released fall of 2022.
FLY! Find your own wings and soar above life’s challenges by Lex Gillette.
With the encouragement and support of a dynamic and resolute mother who was determined for her son to function independently in the sighted world, Lex attended public schools in Raleigh, NC. In high school, Lex met Coach Brian Whitmer and was introduced to a life-changing track and field event... the long jump.
“Fly!” is more than the story of an athlete. The chapters not only tell great stories but also convey important, inspirational messages. This is a book for all ages. It inspires, entertains, and informs as it encourages everyone to “Fly!”
$19.99 Paperback, $27.49 Autographed Paperback