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Lex Gillette’s “Blind Faith” in BMX Racing

May 4, 2011 by  

Lex Gillette rides the BMX Supercross Track at Chula Vista, CA
Story and Interview By Mike Carruth, Photos via YouTube

On BMX News, one of our primary goals is to bring you stories of extraordinary athletic accomplishment in the face of adversity. The rider who’s brain says “I can’t,” but who’s heart says “I must.” Our content is, by-and-large, all BMX, but the people who embody that credo are not always necessarily BMXers, by career.

Last October, we ran a story, written by Intense BMX Elite star Arielle Martin, talking about a day she spent on the Chula Vista Supercross track. It was not a story of the fastest lap time, or clearing this set or that. It was the story of a friend helping someone understand BMX racing in a way they otherwise could not, without her help.

That “someone” was two-time Paralympic Track & Field Silver Medalist, Elexis “Lex” Gillette. Lex is completely blind, but wanted to better understand the environment all his BMX friends at the OTC encounter on their day-to-day quest to make the 2012 US Olympic BMX Team.

Lex lives at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista full-time, just like other Olympic (and Paralympic) hopefuls who are training full-time to represent our country in London next year. Lex’s training is substantially the same as any other athlete on the property, with special consideration given to their specific sport and unique training needs.

The day Arielle and Lex spent walking the track is wonderfully-accounted in the link below, so if you have not previously read it, we encourage you to do so.

But first, fast-forward to last week, when Arielle, and a few other OTC friends helped Lex take his curiosity for BMX racing a step further. They pulled an official “USA” jersey over his shoulders, strapped a helmet on his head and took him, aboard a “Team USA” Intense Podium, out to the last straight of the Beijing-replica track, for him to RIDE a BMX Supercross track, firsthand.

Video Of Arielle helping Lex ride the Chula Vista SX Track (will open in new window)

Now, to you and me, that might be challenge enough. But, think about doing it with a blindfold on, which is basically how Lex experienced it, and it elevates things to a whole new level of challenge.

The link to the video is also below, but we just had to get the full story from Lex’s own lips on his journey from being told, at eight years old, that he would never see again…to the Athens, then Beijing, Paralympic Games…and then to riding a BMX track that only our sport’s most celebrated and talented riders ever get the chance to ride.

It’s an interview that the entire family, regardless of age, should listen to, and underscores, in the most profound way, how you CAN do anything you set your mind to doing, regardless of the obstacles you may initially perceive are in your way.

Click Below to Listen To The Podcast

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Arielle’s BMX News article on Lex’s first walk on the track

Audio: The Song “Crazy,” By Lex Gillette, on his first BMX experience

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

YouTube Video of Lex In Action in the Longjump

Lex Gillette on Twitter

Editor’s note: at :24 in the Podcast, we say Lex competed in two “Olympic” games. That should have been “Paralympic” Games. We apologize for the error.

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