Just as it was in the 2016 Olympic Games, athletes from the University of North Carolina system are set to make an impact on the 2016 Paralympics, also held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Already capturing a silver medal is Lex Gillette, formerly of East Carolina University, who captured the United States’ first medal of the games after he took silver in the men’s long jump.
Gillette, who is competing in his four consecutive Paralympics, is the only totally blind athlete to break 22 feet in the event. Gillette was leading before Ricardo Costa de Oliveira of Brazil took the gold on his final jump of the competition.
Gillette competed in the triple jump in the 2012 London Paralympics, finishing fourth, and also has previously competed in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relays.
Another UNC system Paralympian is Greg Brigman, who will be competing for the U.S. men’s soccer team. Brigman, who was born with cerebral palsy, earned a bachelor’s and a master’s in civil engineering at UNC Charlotte, as well as a second bachelor’s in math. He also is married to a 49er, Louremy Pena.
--Compiled by Phillip Ramati