The fastest paralympian on the earth and his fiancée dropped by the Deseret News for a visit last week.
Having recently won two gold medals at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, Jason Smyth of Northern Ireland and his future bride, Elise Jordan, came by for an interview and show-and-tell with the medals. The couple is set to be married at the Salt Lake Temple on Dec. 29.
Smyth, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, talked about setting new world records in the 100- and 200-meter Paralympic races in London, adding to his previous gold medals earned in the 2008 Beijing games.
It was broadcast 24-7 at home. People were asking if I would come to this or that. It was crazy,” the Mormon sprinter said. “On the flight home, I got to sit in the cockpit of the plane and as we were landing at the Dublin airport, I was flying the flag out the window. There were thousands there waiting, shouting and cheering. It was absolute mayhem.”
Jordan said the press followed them every place they went and even showed up at the Smyth house. For her, the best part of the games was sneaking away with Smyth to see a movie.
Seeing him win the gold medals was absolutely fantastic, but for three hours we got to be a normal couple and go to the movies together and eat popcorn,” said Jordan, who was initially attracted to Smyth by his Irish accent. “I also appreciated the support Jason received. It was really exciting. I clearly think he’s amazing and it’s exciting to see others catching on.”
Smyth came within a split second of qualifying for the regular Olympic games and still hopes to accomplish that feat in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. After getting married and a honeymoon to the South Pacific, Smyth will continue training in Florida. He envisions competing in at least two more Paralympic games.
For now their attention is focused on the wedding.
It’s crunch time,” Jordan said. “Everything is planned, we just have to pull it all together, and hopefully we’ll have a nice day. As long as we end up married at the end of the day, that’s what matters the most, right?”
Smyth is visually impaired with only 10 percent of average eyesight. He was diagnosed at age 8 with Stargardts Disease, which affects his central vision. For more on his story, see the Deseret News.