ECU alum wins silver medal at Tokyo Paralympics

Lex Gillette and guide Wes Williams won silver in the men’s long jump (visually impaired division) at the Tokyo Paralympics. (Facebook photo)

East Carolina University graduate Lex Gillette won a silver medal in the men’s long jump on Friday at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. It was Gillette’s fifth Paralympic appearance and fifth silver medal in the event.

Gillette, who is blind, competes in the visually impaired division. His sighted guide, Wes Williams, uses hand claps and vocal cues to help Gillette find his momentum and rhythm on the track. Gillette lost his sight at 8 years old and won his first medal at 19. His personal motto is “No need for sight when you have vision.” He is also the current world record holder for the long jump.

The Raleigh native graduated from ECU in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and park management from the recreation and leisure studies department (now recreation sciences) in the College of Health and Human Performance.

Now 36, Gillette was going for gold in Tokyo. Though he fell short of his goal, he told Team USA that “It’s always good to get on the podium … All in all, I left it all out there.” He added that he plans to go for gold again at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.