Simplot Games welcomes back Tyson Gunter
POCATELLO — Although he is considered legally blind, lacks pigment in his skin, and has increased light sensitivity in his eyes, none of the hardships that accompany albinism have stopped Tyson Gunter from giving back and doing what he loves.
Gunter attended Idaho State University on a track scholarship, competed with the U.S. Paralympics program in three world championships, won two world championship silver medals, and was on the 2016 U.S. Paralympic team in Rio. After six years of volunteering at Simplot Games, Gunter is returning this year as one of the guest Olympians.
Beginning with competing in Simplot Games in high school and then volunteering through college, Gunter enjoys being surrounded by track and field athletes and coaches from across the nation and learning new insight through listening and watching.
“Volunteering, I was actually able to be close to the action and see what was going on versus being in the stands and not being able to see it as well,” Gunter said.
While Gunter is considered legally blind, he still has 10-15 percent of the vision of the average person. Because he does have some vision and is a naturally independent person, Gunter says it is easy for the people around him to not recognize some of his daily struggles.
Gunter still sports a positive attitude, but even the simplest tasks have obstacles and hassles. Getting to practice can even prove to be a challenge. Because he is unable to drive, Gunter had to live next to the track growing up, and now, if he wants to practice somewhere indoors during winter, he has to plan his time around the bus schedule.
“Ask for help whether it’s a sports issue or a life issue,” Gunter said, after joking about how he struggles to follow his own advice. “Surrounding yourself with successful people that can help is a good thing.”
While he sometimes needs help, Gunter also strives to be helpful himself. Whether it’s volunteering at Simplot Games, working at clinics to help children with disabilities, or helping out in the blind community, Gunter is always working to make a difference, be a positive influence, and pay it forward.
After his time at Simplot Games, Gunter plans to continue training for the next Paralympics.
Because the lineup of events in parathletics is fluid, Gunter’s strongest event, jumping, was not an event in Rio. Instead, he participated in sprinting. He is excited for the Tokyo Paralympics because the long jump is scheduled to return as an event, and he plans to focus on it and compete for a medal.
No matter what happens in Tokyo or anywhere else in life, giving in to adversity and fear is not an option for Gunter. He believes it should not be an option for others either.
“When facing your obstacles and adversity, just go for it, and if you fail, look at it as a way to learn rather than being scared to fail.”
More than 2,100 athletes will come from across the U.S., Canada and Australia to participate in the 40th annual Simplot Games. Simplot Games remains the nation’s premier high school indoor track and field event. Sponsored by the J.R. Simplot Company since 1979, the Simplot Games are held at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.
For more information on Simplot Games, please visit our website at www.simplotgames.com. You may also contact Lisa Woodland at (208) 235-5604 or Simplot Games Media Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.