Tuesday, May 17, 2011


So I have this friend, Arielle. She's an Olympic athlete. Truly. She rides BMX for USA and actually lives at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego. I work with her mom, Lori, and we've been friends for a few years. So maybe Arielle is only my half-friend ... but she's a super cool chick and I really like her. She's inspiring.

Anyway, she has this friend who also lives at the training center, Lex Gillette. He's an '08 Silver Medalist, two time Paralympian, and completely blind. Here is a little video to give you some background on Lex:

Arielle wrote this about him:


When I think about the opportunity I have had to live and train at the Olympic training center what comes to mind is not the world class equipment, the physio, the state of the art technology, or the best SX course in the world. Its the other athletes. The ones I eat lunch with, live with, and pass on the campus en route to training. Athletes that inspire me to be a better athlete, to work harder as I see them work harder. Diversified in many different sports we are all united in one common goal: The Olympics.

None have impacted me more than Elexis Gillette. At first glance Lex appears to be a typical Long jumper. Long dark muscular body with an obvious athletic astuteness and awareness of a high caliber athlete. Always surrounded by people, Lex has an energy that is contagious, a smile always on his face, and it usually takes two or three glances before the average person finally realizes that he is completely blind.

It never ceases to amaze me how he gets around campus on his own, often without his walking stick. Or how he always knows its me when I walk in the cafeteria and shouts my name before I have spoken his. If thats not inspiring enough his athletic ability is phenomenal. Watching him charge a runway to the sound of his guide runners claps before launching himself blind into a pit of sand seems impossible. A silver medalist in Bejing, Lex has proved the impossible wrong. His blindness has only made him more aware, and his attitude being so positive all the time makes me wonder why I complain about the small things.

Lex has got an insatiable curiosity, and after attending our World Cup a few weeks ago he asked me if I would take him out to walk our course so he could feel it. Understand it. I was hesitant at first to take him to the top of the 3 1/2 story start ramp, but he insisted we walk it from start to end. Over the next 45 minutes he touched and felt every lip, landing, berm and surface while I explained it to him. It was an incredible experience for me, I had never seen the course like this before. As I was describing it to him while his fingertips were touching the gate, the ramp, the soil-tec on the dirt, it was opening my own eyes. Like I was seeing it for the first time.

Lex also happens to be an incredible musician. He writes, he sings, he plays. Its evident after spending just a little time with him that his real passion is music, none of us that know him doubt that he is going somewhere with it. He has real talent.

After we went out to the BMX track Lex wrote a song about it. Its raw and funny but I thought it was pretty cool, and I felt like sharing. The experience has inspired me.


Here is a video of Lex riding the BMX track at the training center ... the music in the video is his song. I love it.

Some days I just need a little extra inspiration.