Visually impaired sprinter Jason Smyth achieved fame at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games when he won the 100m (10.62) and 200m (21.4 3) T13 races in world record times. He fully merits his nickname of “The Fastest Paralympian on Earth”.
The Derry man is based in Florida and trains with US sprint king Tyson Gay, a former world champion and owner of the second fastest 100m of all-time. Gay describes Jason as “one of the most technically gifted sprinters alive”.
Jason’s success in Beijing was no surprise as two years earlier he had won gold in the 100m (10.86) and 200m (21.83) at the 2006 IPC Athletics World Championships in the Netherlands. A back injury ruled him out of the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand, but he, together with fellow Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, competed at 2011’s IAAF World Championships in Korea.
Jason achieved the Olympic “B” standard time for 100m (10.22 seconds) but fell just short of the “A” standard of 10.18 – this would have made him the first track athlete to compete at both Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Jason is now focused on retaining his Paralympic 100m and 200m titles. The International Paralympic Committee have marked him as one to watch at the Games – he’ll have high hopes of glory in London’s Olympic Stadium.