Team Panasonic: Lex Gillette
A Champion. For Progress.
Our future is not written until it comes to life. And we have the choice to either watch it unfold or forge it with our own determination. Lex Gillette chose to create his future by overcoming the challenges he faced when he lost his sight as a young boy. Where most need eyes to visualize a goal, his blindness helped him focus.
“I’m thankful for being blind because it’s taught me that, when we have a vision, we create the world we want to see.” – Lex Gillette
For Lex, a life-long athlete, taking on the long jump in high school set him free from the limiting doubts and expectations from those around him. There may have been those who thought, “This isn’t what blind people do.” But Lex doesn’t take on any new endeavor by asking what can’t be done; he sets his mind only on what’s possible. To date, it’s his achievements that define his potential: a four-time Paralympic silver medalist, plus a World Championship in the long jump.
A champion's focus
Lex’s current achievements are just markers of where he’s been, not where the journey ends. “The enemy of our next achievement is the view of our past success,” Gillette says. “I’m always looking for ways to be better.” Of course he’s proud to be world champion, but now he’s working toward becoming a Paralympic gold medalist.
And what happens after the Paralympic Games? He’ll likely set his determination on an ever higher goal, whether that’s in the realm of sport or somewhere else. Lex credits his continued success on his ability to adapt, a skill he developed after he lost his sight. He knows that life is a set of challenges that can come at you quickly. The quicker you find your footing, the more you can achieve.
A champion for equality
For blind athletes, the long jump begins on a level playing field where contestants each wear the required blindfold. Off the track, however, life is seldom fair. Lex is working to change that by mentoring students across the country, bringing inspiration to kids who may face some of the same challenges he did growing up. He believes that we can all make a positive impact when we see ourselves as a person tied to both a local and a global community. You have to move beyond the self.
“In order to succeed, we all must lose sight at some point. Lose sight of pride, narcissism, conceit and ego.” – Lex Gillette
Lex shares with his mentees the lessons he’s learned along this amazing run of his. He talks about dedication to your sport and believing in yourself. But he is always sure to remind them that there are more important things than being first.
“We all want to win gold in the area of life that means the most to us, but that doesn’t mean we have to cut corners to get it. We can win without having to compromise our integrity.” – Lex Gillette