WSU Honors Gold Medalist in Discus Paralympics
OGDEN, Utah — Paralympic gold medalist and Weber State University alumnus David Blair will be honored during pre-game activities at the WSU football game on Oct. 15, approximately 1 p.m. in the Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart Stadium, with kick-off at 1:30 p.m.
In his gold-medal performance in Rio, Blair beat his own world record with a new record of 210 feet 4 inches (210-04) in the discus throw.
Blair, who was born with a misshapen foot, commonly known as a clubfoot, attended WSU on an athletic scholarship beginning in fall 1993. By the time he graduated, he had set six school records in hammer, discus and indoor weight, while competing in varsity athletics. The distances Blair threw at WSU would have broken world records at the time, but he didn’t become aware of that fact until years later.
“Looking back as an adult now, Weber State was taking a chance to use one of their scholarships by giving it to me,” Blair said. “The funding isn’t really heavy for track and field, but they opened up their purse and offered me a scholarship. They took a risk on someone who had a birth defect.”
Blair said he still remembers his first day of practice at WSU. In the first 10 minutes of sprinting hills, he set the tone for the rest of his time as a student athlete. He was just as strong, if not stronger, than everyone else.
Dan Walker, now the WSU track and field coach, was assistant coach at the time. He said working with Blair was a unique experience. He recalled joking with Blair about warming up at meets without sweats, so he could psyche out the competition when they saw his small leg and clubfoot.
“He was a great worker,” Walker said. “He and I had to be creative about how he did things in the weight room and on the field. I always had to buy him two pair of shoes for training and throwing, since his feet were a full four sizes different. He would just throw away the two shoes that didn’t fit. That was hard to do with our small budget, but it was something that needed to be done.”
After graduating from WSU with a degree in technical sales and a minor in computer science, the arthritis in Blair’s foot was too painful to compete, and he decided to move on from the world of sports.
He spent 16 years away from track and field, working and raising his four daughters with his wife, until he picked up a discus once again.
Last year, Blair began training and working with a coach. He said he’s even stronger now than when he graduated and trains four to five days a week. It hasn’t taken him long to rise in the sport. He earned a spot in the Paralympics after winning the trials in July.
Today, Blair still credits WSU for helping him succeed. “Weber’s a big part of me,” he said. “They gave me this opportunity. I’m a big believer in the school.”
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