r Imagine running as fast as you can down the track toward the high jump with vision that is like looking through binoculars backwards and clearing 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 meters). That is exactly what Tyson Gunter did at the World Championship Paralympics in London, England in July of last year. Additionally, our legally blind athlete competed in the long jump with a 20-foot 6-inch jump. Tyson came away with two Silver Medals.
Tyson Gunter has a condition known as Albinism which is characterized by absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Vision impairment is common in albino individuals because of the eyes dependence on melanin which results in limited peripheral and depth perception vision. With his corrective glasses, Tyson’s vision is 20/150. Despite this handicap, he has achieved an amazing record in track events.
Born in Preston, Idaho October 21, 1986, Tyson grew up on a dairy farm and competed in his first track and field event at age 8. During his four years at Marsh Valley High School in Arimo, Idaho he was an All-State Track and Field Champion. While in High School he tied the school’s high jump record of 6 feet 6 inches. After serving an LDS Mission in Tacoma, Washington, he enrolled at Idaho State University and earned a scholarship after his first year. Tyson became a 4-year letterman and finished in the top 6 each year in the NCAA Division 1 Big Sky Conference in Track and Field. After college, he competed internationally on the 2013 Paralympic World Championship team in Lyon, France, where he received Silver Medals for the Long Jump (20.5 ft.) and the High Jump (6.2 ft.). At the 2015 Para Pan America Games in Toronto, Canada, he won another Silver Medal in the Long Jump (21.5 ft.). The next big event for Tyson was the 2016 Paralympic World Championships in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. However, they removed Jumping events, which was Tyson’s specialty that he has always trained for. So, he qualified as a sprinter and completed 7th in the 400 meter (1/4 mile) race with a time of 50.36 seconds.
How can a man legally blind achieve the athletic accomplishments of Tyson Gunter? His answer is practice, practice, practice, so he can memorize the track. He cannot see the jump point until he is just about there. His coach is Dace Nielsen formally with Idaho State University and now with Eastern Washington University. Currently his wife, Makenzie, who is an accomplished track and field athlete herself, video tapes Tyson’s running and jumping and sends it to Dave for critiquing.
In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Tyson has a Bachelors Degree in Marketing from Idaho State University and is currently working on a Masters of Business Administration through online coursework through the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University. He is General Manager of the newly opened Athlete Development Center in Spanish Fork. Tyson Gunter is an amazing person and wonderful example to the rest of us without disabilities. Tyson does request that if you know of someone with a visual or physical handicap that would like to get involved in track and field he would like to talk to them and help them. You can find Tyson on social media.