Irish Paralympic sprinter Jason Smyth is aiming to achieve the same feat accomplished by Usain Bolt in the Olympics. If the 25-year-old wins the 200m final on Friday night at the Paralympics in London he will have taken gold medals in both the 100m and 200m in back-to-back Games. He won both races in the T13 division at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
At eight years old, Smyth was diagnosed with Stargardts disease, a genetic condition that causes a gradual loss of vision. "For me to see what a normal person can see 100m away I have to stand 10m away. The quality of my vision is about 10 percent to that of a person with full sight," Smyth told Spikes. "I can see what car is driving past but I couldn’t see any detail."
At 16, a coach noticed his speed at school and put him under the wings of his current coach, Stephen Maguire. He won three Irish school championships, and didn't stop. In 2010, he became the first Paralympian to qualify for the European Championships. In 2011, he qualified for the World Championships. Smyth's dream is to become the first visually-impaired athlete to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics in the same year. In 2011, he missed qualifying for the "A" standard time set for London 2012 in the 100m by 0.04 seconds, but he hasn't ruled out the possibility of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.