Today is another in a series of articles about some of the US Paralympics Team members preparing for the games in London starting August 29th.
The guy who beat the blade runner…Check. Current fastest amputee on the planet…Check. Paralympian gold and silver medalist…Check. Triple Degree College Graduate (mathematics, applied physics and industrial engineering)…Check check and Check…. NASA and CERN intern…Check and check. Biomechanics PhD candidate. …Check. High School football, basketball and track star….Check. Singer, dancer and self proclaimed video game expert…Checkity check, check, check Ladies and Gentleman, may I introduce Mr. Jerome Singleton Jr.
"I am grateful that I have been blessed in other aspects of my life and hope through my actions I can inspire others to push themselves to greater heights. I may not have a foot, but I do have a desire to succeed and help as many people as I can in the process."
This is one of the most amazing young men I have ever read about. The first thing you notice about Jerome Singleton is his broad smile, ease of speaking and the confidence that comes from a lifetime of hard work, drive, education and dedication. He is smart, he is inventive, he is friendly, and he is wicked fast!
In 2007, Singleton broke onto the Paralympic track and field scene by winning the bronze medal in the 100 meters, and the silver medal in the 200meters at the Parapan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Then, at the 2008 Paralympic Games, Singleton turned in an impressive performance, helping the U.S. to a gold medal in the 4x100m relay. He won a silver medal in the 100m losing to Oscar Pistorius form South Africa. This is where the brotherhood between Singleton and Pistorius started. As you may recall, Pistorius is the double amputee that fought and won the right to compete with able-bodied athletes in the recent Summer Olympic Games.
Singleton told Rolling Stone Magazine, "Muhammad Ali had Joe Frazier. Magic Johnson had Larry Bird. Oscar Pistorius has Jerome Singleton,” Singleton says, before reconsidering. "Maybe it's like Jerome Singleton has Oscar Pistorius because I'm the world champion.” But his rivalry with the South African does not dilute their friendship.
In the World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand last year, Singleton handed Pistorius his first loss in the Paralympic 100 meters in seven years. The American lunged for gold with such force, he plowed into the track face first. The games in London are setting up to be what will be a race of a lifetime for both sprinters. The Mad Dash in Mayfair. Singleton said of Pistorius his self described ‘twin brother” "I'm such a supporter of his. I want to beat him but he's like a brother. I wish the best for him at the Olympics. He is showcasing what a person with a physical disability can achieve. He shows that you should never limit yourself. Oscar keeps inspiring me."
His enthusiasm and pride in the movement is infectious, and he reached out to others to join in. "Once a Paralympian, always a Paralympian," he says. "It's such a blessing, man."
So put the finial of the Men’s 100 meter (T44) on your calendar. The Mad Dash in Mayfair will be the 6th of September. We will get to see who “The world’s fastest amputee” is indeed. I will be watching, at least I am going to try and catch it on the live steaming video from London. Math has never been my best subject, but to my best calculations the final will be at 10:00 in the evening in London…4:00 in the afternoon here.
The theme for the Olympic and Paralympics is “Inspire A Generation” You can check that off Jerome Singleton’s list as well.
Independence, Inc is a local nonprofit organization that provides assistance to people with disabilities through advocacy, peer support, training, transportation, community education to live life independently. Brenda Brown is the Director of Development and Marketing for Independence, Inc.