How does the world’s fastest blind man run 100 meters in under 11 seconds without the ability to see a starting block, lane, or curvature of the track? A new documentary called Untethered provides the moving answer.
After being diagnosed with Kawasaki disease as a toddler, David Brown was robbed of his sight by the time he was 13. A natural athlete, David eventually found a running guide to partner with—and became the Paralympic champion and world-record holder in 2014 as the only blind person ever to run the 100-meter in under 11 seconds.
The 30-minute film portrays the unique brotherhood that Brown formed with Jerome Avery, while the two were ‘tethered’ in training for 15 years. Their inspiring story of companionship and abiding trust transcends the world of sport.
When David ran the world-record race with Jerome seven years ago, they were connected by an eight-inch cord. In the new film, you can see how it had been cut in half—to just four-inches—as their partnership and trust evolved with almost perfect synchronicity.
Written by award-winning creative director Andy Fackrell, Untethered was filmed in the run-up to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which will be the first time that Brown will be untethered from his long-time running companion, after Jerome was injured in early 2021.
“Being able to let go of all fears when deprived of sight and have faith in another human being, David puts his complete confidence in Jerome and strives to live without restraint,” says Feliciano Robayna, a marketing director for On, the Swiss sports company that made the film.
“When you see Jerome and I run, it’s like one person,” says David.
“I hope people can relate to Untethered when they see it and maybe even gain greater understanding of Paralympic sport when they watch the competitions at Tokyo this year.”
The fact that Avery will not be running alongside David on September 1 in Tokyo, makes the film and its title even more compelling.
Now, the star sprinter becomes ‘Untethered’ to his longtime running guide, after training with a new one.
Untethered features two headline entertainers, who surprise David for conversations in New York City, as well as an interview with his mother, Francine Brown, who recounts a 500-word winning essay that allowed him to attend the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing—and propelled his athletic career forward.
Produced by an award-winning creative team assembled by On, and with music by BAFTA nominated composer, Peter Raeburn, the film can now be viewed at UntetheredFilm.com.