Palomar College brought four-time Olympian Lex Gillette to campus this week to tell his story and encourage students to persevere.

SAN MARCOS — During a special event on Wednesday, April 17, students at Palomar College filled a room on campus to hear Paralympic Gold Medalist Elexis “Lex” Gillette tell his inspirational story of overcoming blindness to become one of the most successful track and field athletes in the world.

Gillette, who is currently training for the 2020 Tokyo Games, shared his story of growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, going blind at the age of 8, and then learning how to perform the long jump. He currently holds the world record, at 22 feet, 2 inches, in his Para athletic class, known by the designation F11.

“After I lost my sight, I was encouraged to stop jumping,” Gillette recalled. “I wanted to be good at something.”

Hosted by Palomar’s Disability Resource Center (DRC), Gillette punctuated his story with wisdom for handling adversity and overcoming obstacles.

DRC Director Shauna Moriarty said she was grateful to Gillette for sharing his story.

“Sometimes we only look at the end result—the gold medal—but not the struggle it took to get there,” said Moriarty. “Lex proves how important it is to have a dream, a goal, a vision, and to embrace it fully.”

“There’s a huge difference between seeing with your eyes and having a vision,” said Gillette. “There are a lot of people in the world with 20/20 sight and no vision. But when you have a vision, you see where you can go, what you can do, and who you can be.”