Blake Leeper, a 28-year-old sprinter for the United States Paralympic team, dominated the field at the Josef Odlozil Memorial meet in Prague, Czech Republic running the 400 meters in 44.42 seconds. The time, a personal best for Leeper, is even more impressive when you consider that Leeper is a double amputee and is coming off a two-year suspension by USA Track and Field for testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine. Video of the race has surfaced online and it’s impressive.
The suspension was later reduced to one year, and Leeper returned to the track last year, running at the USATF Outdoors last year and posting a time of 45.25 seconds in the 400m semifinals. Leeper’s time on Monday is the fourth fastest time by an American and the eighth fastest time overall this year. According to Deadspin, Leeper is believed to be the first double amputee to ever compete at the USATF Outdoors and is expected to compete once again at this year’s Outdoors when they take place in two weeks.
Leeper was born without legs below the knees and began wearing prosthetics at nine months old. He competed in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London earning a bronze in the 200m and a silver in the 400. Leeper says he is now fully sober and attending regular AA meetings while he continues to train. If Leeper were to make the U.S. Olympic team in 2020, he would be the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes since South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius in 2008.