olympics

Lex Gillette Flyer

Lex Gillette olympian paraolympics world record long jump

Lex Gillette is my guest today. Elexis “Lex” Gillette is a blind Paralympic athlete originally from Raleigh, North Carolina and now training in Chula Vista, California. Lex competes in T11 (track) and F11 (field) events for the United States.

I was excited to speak with Lex about his travels around the world for track and field as well as his travels for his speaking engagements. Obviously he has a different perspective from most business travelers. We discussed how he gets around the airports and what he likes and dislikes about the service at airports.

We also discussed the possibilities the COVID 19 lockdown could have on him achieving his Paralympic gold medal quest. Make sure to look for him in the Japan 2021 Paralympics and if you need a motivational speaker for an event visit his website for more information.

Available on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, YouTube, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, Castbox, Overcast, Breaker, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, and Spotify.

Intro song “Road Trip” by Robin Tricker

Lex Gillette on social media:

Lex’s listening choice while traveling for work is:

Lex listens to music when traveling. 

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ABOUT

He competed in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, where he won silver in the men’s long jump F11 event. At the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, he won a silver medal in the men’s long jump F11 event and finished fifth in the men’s triple jump F11. He competed in 100 m and 200 m T11 events but did not advance to the finals. At the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, he won a third consecutive silver medal in the men’s long jump F11 event and finished fourth in the triple jump event. 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio, he won a fourth consecutive silver medal in the men’s Long Jump – T11 event.

At the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, he won gold in the men’s long jump F11 event and he also won silver in the triple jump event. Gillette was a part of the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships 4 × 100 m relay team that won a silver medal and set a new American record in the process. Gillette broke his own long jump world record for F11 classified athletes of 6.73 m (22 feet 1 inch) with a leap of 6.77 m (22 feet 2 in.) on April 23, 2015, at a high performance meet held at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center.

He attended Athens Drive High School and graduated from East Carolina University in 2007.

In November 2015, Gillette received the Athletes in Excellence Award from The Foundation for Global Sports Development, in recognition of his community service efforts and work with youth.

Music

Lex Gillette is also a musician. He plays the piano and enjoys singing. Gillette released a music single on April 16, 2012 that was originally titled Go for Gold and was later changed to On the Stage.

Beep ball

While in high school, Gillette was introduced to beep ball, a modified form of baseball for the visually impaired and blind. In 2003, Gillette was recruited to play with the West Coast Dawgs of the National Beep Baseball Association. His first role with the team consisted mostly of designated hitter duties, but in 2005, Gillette became the starting right fielder for the Dawgs. In 2005 West Coast finished 5th in the World Series that were held in Houston, Texas. 2006 saw the Dawgs play in the championship game where they lost to the Taiwan Home Run. The 2007 World Series of Beep Ball were held in Rochester, Minnesota, and the Dawgs returned to the championship game only to lose to the Kansas All Stars. In 2008, Gillette won his first World Series title with the West Coast Dawgs as they outlasted Kansas for the world title. He was named to the offensive all-star team in the same year. The Dawgs returned to the 2009 World Series title game and repeated as champions against the Taiwan Home Run. In both 2010, and 2011, the West Coast Dawgs played in the World Series title game against the Taiwan Home Run, and both times, Gillette scored the game-winning run to put the Dawgs on top as world champions. ESPN’s E60 featured Gillette and the West Coast Dawgs’ 2011 title run.

Lex Gillette Day

Mayor David S. Gysberts and Washington County Board of Commissioners Terry Baker proclaimed September 25 Lex Gillette Day in both Hagerstown, Maryland and Washington County.

Major Accomplishments

2019: IPC Athletics World Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

2016: Paralympic Games Silver Medalist – Long Jump, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2015: Desert Challenge Games Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Tempe, Arizona

2014: IPC Athletics Grand Prix Finals Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Birmingham, England

2014: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, San Mateo, California

2014: Meeting d’Athlétisme Paralympique de Paris Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Paris, France

2014: Italian Open Championships Grand Prix Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Grosseto, Italy

2014: Italian Open Championships Grand Prix Silver Medalist – 100m sprint, Grosseto, Italy

2014: IX Internacional Meeting Kern Pharma, Gran Prix Sauleda Champion – Long Jump, Barcelona, Spain

2014: Desert Challenge Games Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Mesa, Arizona

2013: IPC Athletics World Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Lyon, France

2013: IPC Athletics World Championships Silver Medalist – Triple Jump, Lyon, France

2013: IPC Athletics World Championships Silver Medalist – 4 × 100 m relay, Lyon, France

2013: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, San Antonio, Texas

2013: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Triple Jump, San Antonio, Texas

2013: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Silver medalist – 100m Sprint, San Antonio, Texas

2012: Paralympic Games Silver Medalist – Long Jump, London, England

2012: Desert Challenge Games Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Mesa, Arizona

2011: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Miramar, Florida

2011: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Triple Jump, Miramar, Florida

2011: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – 100m sprint, Miramar, Florida

2011: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – 200m sprint, Miramar, Florida

2011: Desert Challenge Games Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Mesa, Arizona

2011: Desert Challenge Games Gold Medalist – 100m sprint, Mesa, Arizona

2011: IPC Athletics World Championships Bronze Medalist – Triple Jump, Christchurch, New Zealand

2011: IPC Athletics World Championships Bronze Medalist – 200m sprint, Christchurch, New Zealand

2010: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Miramar, Florida

2010: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Triple Jump, Miramar, Florida

2010: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – 100m sprint, Miramar, Florida

2010: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – 200m sprint, Miramar, Florida

2010: Paralympic World Cup Bronze Medalist – 100m sprint, Manchester, England

2010: Athletics Disability Challenge Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Liverpool, England

2008: Paralympic Games Silver Medalist – Long Jump, Beijing, China

2008: U.S. Paralympics track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Tempe, Arizona

2008: U.S. Paralympics track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Triple Jump, Tempe, Arizona

2007: Para-Pan American Games Bronze Medalist – Long Jump, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2007: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Marietta, Georgia

2006: IPC Athletics World Championships Silver Medalist – Long Jump, Assen, The Netherlands

2006: U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Atlanta, Georgia

2006: Paralympic World Cup Silver Medalist – Long Jump, Manchester, England

2004: Paralympic Games Silver Medalist – Long Jump, Athens, Greece

2002: United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) Track and Field National Championships Gold Medalist – Long Jump, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Todd Eldredge 3X OLY

Todd Eldredge olympian ice skating olympics world

Todd Eldredge is my guest today. Todd’s career as a figure skater is storied and decorated as a world champion, 3 time Olympian and Hall of Fame inductee. He has traveled the world for ice skating, including moving several times to different states to work with his coach. We have a great chat about his travels in his competitive days and how much different the times are now for the kids he coaches today. We even talk about some of the differences in current ice skating equipment.

I really enjoyed his discussion about jet lag and trying to get ready to prepare at the highest level of figure skating while adjusting his body clock.

I am thankful for the time he shared with me while we are both out of work during the Covid-19 lock-down. If you get a chance to visit Irvine, California make sure to stop by the Great Park Ice Rink and say hi to him…..or even take a lesson from a world champion.

Todd Eldredge on social media:

Todd’s listening choice while traveling for work is:

Todd watched TV shows and listened to his Walkman when he traveled as a competitor. 

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Career

Eldredge began skating when he was five years old and moved from Chatham, Massachusetts to Philadelphia at age ten to train with Richard Callaghan. He later trained at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and at the Onyx in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Todd won silver at the 1987 World Junior Championships and then gold in 1988. He took bronze at the 1988 Skate America.

In the 1989–90 season, Eldredge won his first senior national title and was sent to the 1990 World Championships, where he finished fifth. The following season, he repeated as the national champion and then took the bronze medal at the 1991 World Championships. Although Eldredge missed the 1992 U.S. Championships, he was nominated to represent the U.S. at the 1992 Winter Olympics. He placed tenth in Albertville and then seventh at the 1992 World Championships.

Eldredge struggled during the next two seasons, placing sixth at the 1993 U.S. Championships and fourth in 1994, and was not selected for the 1994 Olympics. He regained momentum in the 1994–95 season, taking silver at the 1994 Goodwill Games and gold at the 1994 Skate America and 1994 NHK Trophy. He then won his third national title and silver at the 1995 World Championships. In 1996, he came away with silver at the U.S. Championships but won gold at the 1996 World Championships.

In the 1996-1997 season Eldredge started off on fire, easily beating Alexei Urmanov (who also skated cleanly) to win Skate America. He controversially lost the Grand Prix final to Elvis Stojko who landed the first ever quadruple-triple combination, but had other errors, including a fall on his 2nd triple axel. Eldredge skated a clean and more complete program, but suffered from the home country scoring of the event in Canada. He regained his U.S title easily, in the absence of defending Champion Rudy Galindo, who was now professional. At the World Championships Eldredge skated a spectacular short program, but due to the very early draw he finished 2nd to Alexei Urmanov who skated near the very end. The top 6 were all clean with triple axel-triple toe combinations. Elvis Stojko though came from 4th to win the gold after a flawless long program with a quadruple-triple combination. Eldredge first singled, then later fell on his 2nd triple axel try, sealing his fate when combined with that he also didn’t have a quadruple jump to begin with.

In the pivotal year of his career in 1997-1998, Eldredge suffered through a sluggish grand prix circuit. First winning Skate America with an uninspiring skate, after injuring himself in warm up. Then placing only 4th at Trophee Lalique, won by rising start Alexei Yagudin. He controversially finished 3rd at the Grand Prix final where most believed he deserved at least 2nd place above Elvis Stojko. Todd skated cleanly, apart from a doubled triple loop, and strangely lost to Stojko who fell on his quadruple attempt. He then finished fourth at his second Olympics, in Nagano, after a crushing long program performance, managing only 5 of 8 planned triples, when a clean skate would have garnered him at least silver comfortably. He rebounded to win silver at a watered down World Championships in his home country, an event missing all 3 Olympic medalists. A fall in the short program cost him the gold to rising star Alexei Yagudin, despite comfortably winning the long program with a strong skate.

Eldredge continued to compete in pro ams and leave the door open for a return to amateur figure skating. In 2000, he landed his first quadruple jump in competition at the Masters of Figure Skating.  He competed in various events through the 1999-2000 season, yet oddly did not skate at the World Championships. Eldredge withdrew from the 2001 Four Continents Championships due to an ankle injury. He returned to the U.S Championships for the first time since 1998, and took silver behind Tim Goebel, but then edged Goebel for the bronze at the World Championships where most felt he deserved silver over an injured and flawed Alexei Yagudin. In 2002, he won his sixth U.S. title and placed sixth in his third Olympic appearance. After retiring from competition, he toured with Stars on Ice.

Eldredge was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame during the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.  On January 31, 2011, the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame announced Eldredge as a nominee for an outstanding competitor in the men’s category.

Eldredge formerly coached at the Germain Arena in Estero, Florida. In April 2012, he underwent left hip replacement surgery. Beginning in 2014, he coached at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Frisco, Texas. In 2018, Eldredge relocated to Irvine, California, and he now coaches at Great Park Ice.

Anthony Watson – Caribbean Slider

Anthony Watson Skeleton Olympics Jamaica caribbean

Anthony Watson is my guest today. Anthony is an American-born skeleton racer who competed on behalf of Jamaica in the 2018 Winter Olympics, becoming the first athlete to represent the Caribbean nation in the winter sport.

We talked about the effort and money that is required to make his dream come true. I always thought countries paid for their athletes, but it’s not like that in the smaller countries and less known sports for that country. It can be a struggle just getting enough food to eat while training to be the best in the world. I will definitely watch the Olympics differently after my talk with Anthony.

Anthony Watson on social media:

Anthony’s listening choice while traveling for work is:

He likes to listen to music while traveling. 

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Biography

Born and raised in Vineland, New Jersey, he is the son of Basil and Gloria Watson. Walker attended Cumberland Christian School, from which he graduated in 2008. He attended Roberts Wesleyan College before transferring to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and had competed in track in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay at the junior level until an injury prevented him from advancing to the top levels of competition in track and field.

Watson found the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation after checking out the tryout pages for every sport in which the United States was represented in international competition and chose skeleton after seeing a series of videos. An aspiring Olympian from the time he was a child, Walker participated for three years in the American training program for bobsled and skeleton, but “left on peaceful terms”. Given that his father had been born in Jamaica, Walker was eligible to compete on behalf of his father’s native country. Ranked 79th in the world based on his competition results, his qualification standards with the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation were not sufficient for him to be eligible to receive one of the 30 guaranteed berths granted for male competitors to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, but Walker was given the final slot to represent Jamaica after nations with individuals who had better times turned down spots, making him the first athlete from Jamaica to compete in skeleton.

With finishing times of 53.13, 54.04 and 53.35 seconds in the Olympic skeleton competition, Watson finished in 29th place in each of the three first heats. His top speed was 75.4 miles per hour (121.3 km/h), reached during the first heat. His total time in the three heats of 2:40.52 meant that he did not qualify for the final race; he placed him almost 10 seconds behind Yun Sung-bin of South Korea, who went on to win the gold medal

Available on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, YouTube, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, Castbox, Overcast, Breaker, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, and Spotify.

Mariya Koroleva – Synch Swim

Mariya Koroleva synchronized swimming olympics stanford

Mariya Koroleva is my guest today. She is a Russian-born American synchronized swimmer. After immigrating to the United States, Koroleva began participating in synchronized swimming, and competed at Stanford University. She was a member of the teams that won silver medals in the duet and team competitions at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. She competed at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, London and Rio.

We spoke about her travels for the Olympics and the amount of preparation and training needed to be a Olympic level synch swimmer.

Mariya Koroleva on social media:

Mariya’s listening choice while traveling for work is:

She likes to read a good book, or books, while traveling. 

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ABOUT

Koroleva was born in Yaroslavl, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union to Svetlana and Nikolay Korolev, and later immigrated with her family to the United States, settling in Concord, California. There, she began to compete in national youth competitions in synchronized swimming.

After being accepted to Stanford University, she experienced considerable success in collegiate and national competitions. In the 2009 collegiate championships, she finished second in team and figures, third in trio, and fifth in duet. That same year at the national championships she came in third in team and fourth in duet. During the following year’s collegiate championships, she finished second place in the trio competition and third in the duet.

Shortly before the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, she was partnered with Mary Killman to compete as a duet. At those games, Killman and Koroleva won a silver medal in the duet competition, and were members of the United States team that won a silver in the team competition as well. The pair qualified for the women’s duet at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and due to the failure of the United States to qualify for the team event, they were the only American women to compete in synchronized swimming at those games.

Koroleva was one of three University of San Francisco students to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics, joined by Israeli long-distance runner Maor Tiyouri and Venezuelan basketball player John Cox. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she teamed with Anita Alvarez in the women’s duet, finishing in 9th place.

Bree Schaaf – Slider

Bree Schaaf podcast bobsled slider sliding nbc

Bree Schaaf is my guest on today’s podcast. Bree is a winter Olympian in bobsled, coach of sliding sports, Olympic commentator and a member of the athletes’ advisory council. I always enjoy speaking with world class athletes about their travel experiences and Bree was no exception. She discussed diet and fitness tips while being an athlete and even as a coach and commentator. She is a wealth of knowledge and I was happy she was willing to share it with my listeners.

Bree Schaaf on social media:

Bree’s listening choice while traveling for work is:

Bree enjoys listening to music when she travels. 

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ABOUT

Bree is an American skeleton racer who competed from 2002 to 2007, then switched over to bobsled as a pilot from 2007-2014. Her best Skeleton World Cup finish was sixth at Calgary in November 2006.

Early years

In high school, she competed in track, volleyball, and basketball before playing volleyball exclusively.  She earned a scholarship for volleyball and played collegiality at Portland State University in Oregon.  Schaaf graduated with high honors and a BA in Anthropology.

Sledding

Schaaf’s best finish in skeleton at the FIBT World Championships was 11th in the women’s event at St. Moritz in 2007.

Bree switched to bobsled for 2007-8, starting on lower racing circuits before qualifying to race World Cup in 2009 after winning the 2009 US National Championship in bobsled. Bree also finished 4th at the Bobsled World Cup in Park City, Utah in November 2009. She also took 6th at the 2009 World Cup Whistler track debut, and 5th at the February 2009 World Cup race in Park City, with 9 top-ten world cup finishes in total.

It was announced on January 16, 2010 that she made the US bobsled team for the 2010 Winter Olympics. She finished fifth in the two-woman event.

Broadcasting

In 2009 Schaaf started work as a sliding commentator for Universal Sports Network. She joined NBC’s team at Sliding Center Sanki for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Meryl Davis – Dancing Queen

Meryl Davis Dancing Queen ice skating dancing gold medal sochi olympics

Meryl Davis is my guest on today’s podcast. Meryl skated to Olympic gold in ice dancing in 2014 and won the coveted mirrored ball on Dancing With The Stars. Since that time she has continued her education at the University of Michigan in cultural anthropology, got married in France, skated professionally around the world and she is empowering girls thru various philanthropic endeavors. I was excited to spend some time talking with Meryl about her travels around the world and her perspective of different cultures.

“You just have to buckle up and just accept what comes along with the travel lifestyle”

Meryl Davis on social media:

Meryl’s listening choice while traveling for work is:

Meryl enjoys watching movies while flying around the world for skating when not studying for schoolwork.

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Meryl Davis Bio

When Meryl first fell in love with figure skating on a frozen lake by her childhood home outside of Detroit, Michigan, she had no idea the journey she was about to embark on. Teaming up with partner, Charlie White at the young age of nine, Meryl and Charlie began their quest together. Neither knowing much about the discipline of ice-dance, the team was driven by a passion for skating and the desire to learn, grow and see improvement from one day to the next. 20 years later, Meryl and Charlie are the reigning Olympic Champions and the first and only Americans to win the event. They’re also six-time U.S. Champions and 2-time World Champions, making them the most decorated U.S. ice dancers of all time.

Immediately following their 2014 Olympic win in Sochi, Russia, Meryl and Charlie continued to dance into the hearts of Americans on season 18 of the hit TV show, Dancing with the Stars. With pro partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Meryl again came away with a win and the coveted Mirrorball trophy.

Post Olympics

Continuing their post-Olympic whirlwind, Meryl and Charlie now travel the world sharing their passion for skating with some of the most loved international skating tours, including Stars on Ice. With education always having been a priority for the pair, both are currently finishing up degrees at the University of Michigan while exploring other passions and interests.

For Meryl, the journey to becoming an Olympic Champion was filled with challenges and opportunities that allowed her to find strength and confidence. As such, Meryl now seeks to empower girls and young women through her multiple philanthropic endeavors. Most prominently, Meryl is proud to be a Founding Co-Chair of Figure Skating in Detroit, a youth development organization that empowers girls to develop life skills through the sport of figure skating with a heavy emphasis on education. Meryl Davis is also on the Advisory Panel of the Women’s Sports Foundation, a UNICEF Kid Power Champion, and Classroom Champions Athlete.

When not at home with her family in Birmingham, Michigan Meryl most loves sharing her story and experiences in the hopes of inspiring others to follow their dreams.