The story of South Carolina Paralmpyian track and field athlete Jerome Singleton or — as he was billed after winning the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championship in New Zealand – “the fastest amputee on the planet” is quite an inspiring tale. At 18 months of age, young Jerome would lose his right leg below the knee in amputation, because he wasn’t born with a fibula or calf bone. Still, Singleton pushed himself as a star high school athlete in spite of his disability, becoming a varsity football player and track team member.
He would also win awards for both his athletic and academic accomplishments. As a student-athlete at the University of Michigan, Singleton amassed a staggering amount of medals and titles that culminated in vanquishing his South African rival Oscar Pistorius in the 2011 IPC World event in a photo finish.
Meet Singleton here:
Unlike Pistorius, a double amputee who runs on two carbon-blade prostheses, Singleton uses just one such prosthesis. While they’ve feuded on the track for athletic superiority over the years, Singleton will be rooting on Pistorius, who made the South African team in this summer’s Olympics. Inspired by Pistorius’ inclusion on the team, Singleton told New York Daily News that this moment could be a game changer and may start a trend of para-athletes competing with their two-legged compatriots. “It changes perception,” Singleton said in a phone interview. “It’s going to show two-legged folks what people with disabilities are capable of.”
Singleton, who just celebrated his 26th birthday on July 7, is hopeful he’ll find his way on to the U.S. Men’s Olympic Track And Field squad one day. Although his numbers were impressive, the U.S. team is full of speedy sprinters who bested his time by a couple of seconds. Still, Singleton will be a shining star at the Paralympic Games that will take place in London right after Olympics and has infallible self-confidence in his talent.
“If you are going to pursue any career, no matter what it is, you should have the desire to be the best,” Singleton said.