The amputee is a psychological disorder in which an otherwise healthy individual feels that one is likened to others who are obviously disabled because of amputation in the latter case. It is associated with a feeling that one or more limbs of one’s body do not belong to one’s self.
Blake Leeper was born without lower legs and began using prosthetics as a toddler. As soon as he became an adult, he learned that he’d qualified to run against non-disabled athletes in the USATF Outdoor Championships.
On Tuesday night, his cell phone rang with news that left him speechless. After a two-year suspension from competition, he was allowed to make history on Thursday night.
On Thursday at 10:46 p.m. E.T. in the 400-meter marked the first time a double-amputee has ever competed at the U.S track and field championships.
The news came as a welcome twist for Leeper, who tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine that he reportedly used at a party and was suspended from competition for two years starting from June 2015.
However, the 27-year-old runner found himself in the middle of drama last year August after his two-year ban was reduced to one year by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Leeper has also earned a silver medal in 400 meters behind Oscar Pistorius at the 2012 London Paralympics.
The International Paralympic Committee ended up appealing the one-year ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which eventually ruled to uphold the original two-year ban. Leeper was thus prohibited from competing in Rio.
Leeper, who claims to have devoted nearly every waking moment to training and staying sober stated that the decision to prevent him from participating in Rio became a challenging to his social life. “I was questioning a lot of things after that. But I never quit believing,” he stated.
Thirty-two men ran in the 400 meters Thursday night at the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif.
To our expectations, Blake Leeper was faster than half of them despite being born without lower legs. He took 45.52 seconds and was good for third place in his heat and 16th-fastest overall, securing the final spot in the semifinals.
“I have been training hard for this moment to be here at the trials, the first double amputee ever,” Leeper said. “I wanted to advance and show everybody what you can truly do with a disability.”