Blake Leeper has only been competing internationally for four years. But the 24-year-old Paralympic athlete has proven to be a quick learner. Leeper — who was born without his legs below the knees — will attempt to become the first disabled American athlete to compete in the Olympic Games two years from now in Rio.
The inspirational young man has won five International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championship medals (including a gold in the 2013 4x100m relay) to go along with the silver and bronze he earned at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (He finished second to the now infamous Oscar Pistorius in the 400m race during that competition.) He updated Yahoo Sports on his 2016 Games progress Monday.
"My training is going well. We're about 24 months out," Leeper said. "My coach Al Joyner at the Olympic Training Center is getting me to that next level. When you really think about, 10-12 years ago, if somebody told me I'd be an Olympic runner, trying to be the fastest man in the world, I would say you're crazy. Here I am now trying to be the fastest man in the world, able-bodied or Paralympic-side as well. I think it's just a true testament that regardless of what you go through in your life that if you stay true to your yourself, you can overcome any challenge."
Leeper will attempt to qualify in the 400m, like Pistorius did during the London Games. If he doesn't make history, he'll still participate in the Paralympic Games that follow in Brazil.