Jaydin BlackwellPara Track & FieldNews

Full Speed Ahead for Adaptive Athletics Star Jaydin Blackwell

by Brian Pinelli

Jaydin Blackwell celebrates winning gold after competing in the men's 100-meter T38 finals at the 2024 World Para Athletics Championships on May 18, 2024 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. (Photo by Getty Images)

Jaydin Blackwell possesses the speed, talent and determination to be a bona-fide star, on and off the track, for years to come. 

The 20-year-old adaptive sprinter says that he is inspired watching his able-bodied Team USA track and field colleague, Noah Lyles. Both own multiple world titles.

Blackwell appears on track to becoming a major influencer, hoping to use his speed and swagger to motivate more youth to gravitate toward his sport. He also believes that he can stir greater awareness about adaptive sport and the Paralympic movement.

“I like to consider myself the Noah Lyles of Para track and field,” Blackwell tells Team USA.


“I will try my best to get more people acquainted with Para track and field because we deserve everything, more respect, and more people talking about us.

“When people watch me run, I hope I can inspire them and if they don’t know track and field to at least try it and see if they can go further,” he says.

Blackwell is striving to inspire this week at the Para Athletics World Championships in Kobe, Japan. He exploded out of the blocks quickly, accelerating to a 100m T38 victory, in a championship record time of 10.86 seconds on Saturday. The Oak Park, Michigan, native successfully defended his 100m world title from Paris, in July 2023.

Blackwell won by a few strides – against a loaded field that included Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Nick Mayhugh and 2023 Parapan American Games champion Ryan Medrano. His time was just one tenth of a second off his personal best of 10.76, set at the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships in March.

“Crossing the line as the back-to-back champion felt great – it says that my nine years of training and sacrifices are paying off,” Blackwell said. “I just want to give my best to this sport and change some minds about what Para athletes can give.”

The current 100m T38 world record stands at 10.74, a time that seems bound to be toppled by the talented sprinter, perhaps at the Paralympic Games Paris 2024.

Next up in Blackwell’s quest for a world championship double-double is the 400m T38, with the final on Tuesday evening at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium. He is already the world record holder, although quickly admits that the one lap race is his least favorite running event.

“The 400 meters – I still don’t like it and I will never like it in a million years,” Blackwell says, despite his success in the event. “It’s love and hate at the same time.”

The ultra-talented athlete set the 400m T38 world record at 48.49 seconds, in Paris, last July.  He fancies his chances in Japan.

I’m just really excited to get out there and trying to beat my own (world) record,” Blackwell proclaims. “I’m been working hard on my 400, so I’ll feel good when I get out there on the track. 

“It’s going to take everything I got and more from what I did in Paris,” he adds.

“I achieved something special in Paris, so I know I’ll need to get even faster to break that record again.”

Jaydin Blackwell celebrates winning gold after competing in the men's 100-meter T38 finals at the 2024 World Para Athletics Championships on May 18, 2024 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. (Photo by Getty Images)

Blackwell was born with cerebral palsy, a disease that affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Symptoms can vary widely, ranging from floppy to rigid limbs, while Blackwell experiences a type that leave his leg muscles rock hard.

“It affects my legs – both sides of my legs,” Blackwell informs. “My muscles will be tightened when I finish running. My legs will be very tight so I’ll have to walk around, sit down or do a little jog or stretch for a few good minutes. Then walk around some more just to relax them.

“I can’t run for a long time – that’s why I’m a sprinter, short and sweet; I can’t do distance,” he informs.

Blackwell relies on the unwavering support of his mother, Rochelle Davis, who encouraged him to run track. He progressed rapidly and raced at the collegiate level for Purdue Northwest, a Division II school. 

“Running is the one thing that he loves and he’s good at it,” Davis said, in an interview with the Detroit Free Press last year. “He struggles with so many things, but running is the one thing that comes so naturally and makes him happy.”

Contributing to the team effort is Blackwell’s head coach since his middle school days, Fred George.

“He does bring out the best in me – he’s helped me since I was little,” Blackwell says of his longstanding coach. “He always keeps me sharp, honed in and ready to go.”

Blackwell burst onto the international scene as an inexperienced rookie in Para track and field, nearly one year ago in Paris. He embraced the stage delivering a pair of victories in the 100m and 400m, while establishing the 400m world record that he hopes to eclipse on Tuesday in Japan.

The Michigan native also has ambitious aspirations for Paris this summer, but first comes the 2024 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials – Para Track & Field in Miramar, Florida, July 18-20.

Not surprisingly, the double-double is once again Blackwell’s mission. He says he is prepared for his first Paralympics experience, both on and off the track.

“I definitely am – I know that I’m ready, my coach knows I’m ready, so I’m just ready to go out there and do my best,” he says.

Personal achievements aside, Blackwell, once again, has the greater good of the sport in mind. “I hope that I can put more energy into the races and make the field more lively,” he says.

Unquestionably, a bright future lies ahead for Blackwell in his sport. From what has already been seen in Paris, Japan and at home training in Detroit, Jaydin leaves everything out on the track. However, the ultimate goal is greater than gold medals. 

“From the athletes, trainers, coaches, and camera crews around us, everybody in our circle gives everything to this side of track and field,” Blackwell says.

“The Paralympic Movement is growing, but I wish it could be growing more than just a little bit – a little bit is not what we need, we need a lot. It can benefit everybody.”