I train at the Olympic Training Center. It’s home to some of the best athletes in the U.S. and the World, all of whom are working day in and day out to reach their goals and realize a dream. It is a great environment that lends itself to encouragement and inspiration at every turn. One of the things I like best about training there is that there are always other athlete’s to push you and make you want to be better than you already are. It’s pretty amazing.
While I’ve been away in Brazil, there have been meets at the training center to allow athletes that aren’t traveling chances to compete and opportunities to get some good marks that count. The other day I saw a tweet from my buddy Lex that said he had long jumped a windy 6.92 at the competition that day, his best ever under any conditions. I immediately tweeted back at him how awesome that was and offering my congrats. If you’re not familiar with Lex, he is a totally blind paralympic athlete, that trains and competes knowing that not having his eyesight is no excuse not to accomplish anything he sets his mind to. It’s daily inspiration in the truest form.
But instead of tweeting me back a simple “thanks”, Lex decided to throw a challenge my way– because that’s what real athletes do… we make everything a competition. Lex and I have very close personal bests. He recently set the world record in the long jump at 6.74, and my best is 6.81. His best mark overall in any conditions is now 6.92 and mine is a hair behind at 6.84. So he challenged me and said said the first one to reach 7 meters has to buy the other one dinner. And I was like, BRING IT. Why? Because I know we are both capable of jumping that mark but I also know how much I like a free meal, aaaand how much I’m not that keen on buying men dinner.
So, to make it truly official I am putting this bet out on the world wide web. Not only so that we both be held accountable, but also because I want to see us both reach this milestone sooner rather than later, so I might as well put some fire behind it! And also, if you’d like someone to cheer for and follow, besides me of course, I’ve now introduced you to the perfect athlete: Lex Gillette