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The Mindset Athlete Podcast

Aug 28, 2020

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 four-time Paralympic medalist, a three-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. If you think that any of this came easy, you should think again.

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. As painful as this was, 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.

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 gold in the long jump at the 2017 Para Athletics World Championships.

Lex now has his sights set on the 2020 Paralympic Games, and he is currently training and competing to make his fifth consecutive U.S. Paralympic team. There is one goal, and that is to win gold for the United States of America. As an athlete, motivational speaker, and singer song writer, Lex epitomizes the phrase “No Need for Sight When You Have a Vision®”.

Lastly he is also the author of Fly!: Find Your Own Wings And Soar Above Life's Challenges.

In the episode we spoke about:

- What would you say to people who haven't seen the blind long jump? and how would describe it to them?

- How much of an influence was your mother on your athletic career?

- What turned you away from goalball?

- Talk to us about 'No Need For Sight When You Have A Vision'

- Give us your take on BLM (Black Lives Matter) as a blind person 

- Do you think you should use your influence as an athlete for change?

- How do you think sport can facilitate society?

- Do you ever feel your disability held you back?

- If you were to go back to your 8 year old self would you have foreseen how successful you would have became?

- Was it scary that day when everything went pitch black?

- How do you pick yourself up from something like that?

- How have you had to alter your training? (Recorded during the height of the COVID Pandemic)

- Which athlete would you like to sit down with died or alive? and why?

amongst others

You can learn more about Lex via his website and connect with him on Twitter.

For more information about The Mindset Athlete by connect with us on Facebook @mindsetgamepodcast

For more information about James Roberts (the host of the podcast), visit and connect with him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram