LONDON – American Lex Gillette jumped his way to a London 2012 Paralympic Games silver medal in the men’s long jump (F11) at Olympic Stadium on Tuesday. This is Gillette’s third Paralympic silver medal in the event, which he has also competed in at the Athens and Beijing Paralympic Games.
Gillette started the competition strong, with a jump of 6.16 meters. “The first jump I just wanted to go out there and get a mark so I could make it to the finals,” he said. “The last five I was able to loosen up and really try to get out there and jump really far.”
The silver medal jump for Gillette was his fifth attempt, when he jumped 6.34m to move ahead of Duan Li from China. Ruslan Katyshev of Ukraine recorded a jump of 6.46m in his first attempt to win gold.
Though Tuesday’s jump not his personal best (which at 6.73m is also the world record for the F11 classification), Gillette is proud of what he accomplished.
“Coming into the Games, I had a couple obstacles to overcome, so to be able to come out here and perform the way I did, I don’t have any regrets about my performance at all,” he said. “I went out there and did my best and luckily I came away with a silver medal.”
Next up for Gillette is the 4x100m relay (F11/13), with round 1 set to be contested Wednesday morning. He will also compete in the triple jump (F11), as well as the 100m (T11) later in the Games.
The silver medal won today is a great way for Gillette to rebound in these Games after failing to qualify for the final of the 100m (T11).
“It definitely opens up things for me just to be able to get this one out of the way,” he said. “Hopefully that will set us up to be loose and have a little bit of fun tomorrow.”
The chance to represent Team USA in his third Paralympic Games means the world, who said it’s an amazing feeling. “Every time I put the USA on my chest, it’s time for business. I go out there and make it happen.”
Also representing the U.S. in field event finals Tuesday were Tanner Gers, who was 11th in the long jump (F11), Dennis Ogbe, who finished 12th in the shot put (F57/58), and Scot Severn, who took eighth in the javelin (F52/53).
On the track, Tatyana McFadden recorded the fastest qualifying time in the first round of the women’s 800m (T54), finishing in 1.47.66. McFadden won gold Monday night in the 400m (T54) and will compete in the 800m (T54) finals on Wednesday.
The U.S. will participate in four event finals in Olympic Stadium Tuesday evening – the men’s 1500m (T20 and T46), men’s 200m (T34) and men’s discus throw (F40).