Most of us have heard of South Africa’s blade runner, Oscar Pistorius. For those who haven’t, he was the Paralympic athlete who shined at the 2012 London Olympic Games- the first double-amputee to perform in the Olympic games. We have all also heard about his unfortunate downfall this past summer when he was accused of murdering his girlfriend and currently awaits trial. Fortunately there is a new blade runner, American Blake Leeper that is calling for attention- the positive kind. Leeper was born without legs below his knees. He started wearing prosthetics by the time he was nine months old. This never stopped him from trying to be an athlete and by age 5 he was participating in sports. He began competing as a runner in 2008 when he received blade prosthetics. He runs the longer sprints- 400, 200, and relays. Leeper was a silver medalist at the 2012 Paralympic Games and gold medalist at the IPC World games in France where his relay team was named Team of the Year.
As of now he is training for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. If he makes the team he will be the first double-amputee to compete for Team USA. It was announced this week that he was named the Daytona 500 honorary official. He will participate in the ceremonies and ride in one of the pace cars. To have a competitor of his caliber represented at the Daytona 500 is something that athletes everywhere- amputee or not- can be inspired by.