Biography

At the age of eight years old Jason was diagnosed with an eye condition called Stargardts Disease which affects his central vision. Gradually the disease reduced his vision to roughly ten percent of an average person’s eyesight. While this affected his social life as a teenager, it never slowed him down and he always excelled in sport.

At the age of sixteen he was approached by his PE teacher with the option of participating in Athletics’ club. There a fellow athlete noticed Jason’s speed and talent and mentioned it to the coach, Stephen Maguire who decided to take Jason under his wing. For a few years Jason competed in able-bodied races for his school and won the Irish Schools Championships three years in a row. By this time he had also become involved with Paralympics sport and had competed in, won, and set new world records in the 100 and 200 meter T13 races at the European and World Paralympics Championships.

In 2008 Jason competed at the Beijing Paralympics Games. In the final of the 100 meter T13 race he ran 10.62 seconds, setting a new world record and earning his first Paralympics gold medal. A few days later Jason would again break a world record while running 21.43 seconds in the 200 meter T13 race, and obtained his second gold medal of the games.

In 2010 Jason became the first Paralympics athlete to qualify and complete in the able bodied European Championships, making it to the semi-final in the 100 meter race. He then went on to qualify and race in the World Championships in 2011.

Jason worked towards qualifying for the Olympics 100 meter race for four years while training in Florida. He achieved the Olympic B standard in 2011 when he ran a personal best of 10.22, but fell .04 seconds shy of the A standard and missed out on competing in the 2012 London Olympics. But as with his eyesight, Jason won’t let anything slow him down. Jason won two Gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games coming first in both the T13 100 and 200m races.  He also secured his position as the ‘Fastest Paralympian on Earth’ by breaking two World records in the process.

 

Titles & Records

Paralympic T13 #1 World Ranking
Able Body 2010 #2 – 200m
Irish Ranking 2011 #1 – 100m

Titles
100m World Record Holder T13
200m World Record Holder T13

Records
N.Ireland 100m Record 2011

Personal Bests
100M 10.22
200M 20.94

© Jason Smyth 2012
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