Blake Leeper

Paralympic medalist Blake Leeper surprised by idol Bo Jackson on ‘Arsenio’ (video)


Bo knows Blake.

Blake Leeper, a two-time Paralympic medalist sprinter in prosthetic legs since he was nine months old, was a guest on “Arsenio” on Monday.

Leeper talked about his much-reported goal to run in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but that wasn’t the only reason for his appearance.

Arsenio Hall didn’t waste any time, asking Leeper, 24, about his favorite athlete as a kid.

“My guy growing up, of course, was Bo Jackson,” he said. “I was a huge Bo fan before his injury. I watched Bo, everything he did. Remember, he got hurt, his football accident. He came back with a prosthetic hip and was able to battle back his whole life, come back and compete.”

Jackson suffered a football career-ending hip injury in a January 1991 NFL playoff game with the Oakland Raiders. Leeper was 1 year old.

Jackson persevered and continued to play baseball with the Chicago White Sox and California Angels.

“As a child, seeing him, with his prosthetic hip, even though I had prosthetic legs, I just heard, ‘prosthetics,'” Leeper said. “I was really excited, and I related myself. Everywhere I would go, ‘Call me Bo. Call me Bo.'”

Hall then asked Leeper about his start in sprinting and called on somebody to bring out a pair of Leeper’s race legs.

That somebody was Jackson. Leeper’s reaction in the video below was priceless. The two champion athletes shared a 16-second hug.

“I’m speechless right now,” Leeper said, sitting next to Jackson. “This is the first time I’ve been able to actually say this. Twenty years ago, the day that I met you was truly amazing for me. I want to say thank you for never giving up on your career. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here today. You inspired me to be who I am today. You inspired me to go out there and show the world that regardless of who you are, regardless of if you have a disability, it doesn’t matter. As long as you battle back, and you give it your 120 percent, you can overcome any challenge. And I thank you for that, Bo, I appreciate it.”

Jackson was appreciative as well.

“My analogy is God puts speedbumps in everybody’s road to life,” Jackson said. “It’s up to us to slow down, get over that speedbump and move on down the road.

“It’s almost like me sitting here and watching my own son. I am just that proud of him”

(h/t @forthewin)

Usain Bolt also goes on Arsenio Hall show

U.S. women’s gymnastics World Championships team analysis

Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles
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The U.S. women’s gymnastics team that will try to win a fourth straight global title at the World Championships in three weeks in Glasgow, Scotland, is arguably the most accomplished in American history.

It’s the first time a U.S. men’s or women’s team for Worlds has included two past Olympic or World all-around champions — Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas.

It’s the first time a U.S. men’s or women’s team for Worlds has included any past individual Olympic champions — Douglas and Aly Raisman.

Biles, Douglas and Raisman were three of the seven women named to the team by USA Gymnastics following selection camp competition in Texas on Thursday night.

The others are 2014 World Championships team members MyKayla Skinner and Madison Kocian; Brenna Dowell, who traveled to the 2013 Worlds but didn’t compete, and Worlds rookie Maggie Nichols.

One of the seven women must be designated an alternate before Worlds, as nations can use a maximum of six in competition in Glasgow.

The U.S. roster is without Olympic team champions McKayla Maroney, who hasn’t competed since the 2013 Worlds, and Kyla Ross, who announced her withdrawal from Worlds team selection on Oct. 1 without citing a reason. The other member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, Jordyn Wieber, is retired.

At Worlds, the U.S.’ biggest competition will likely come from the other three women’s gymnastics powers — China, Romania and Russia. Russia’s early roster includes three members of its five-woman 2012 Olympic silver medal-winning team, including Viktoria Komova, the Olympic all-around silver medalist.

An interesting competition within the U.S. team could be which two women advance from Oct. 24 qualifying into the Worlds individual all-around final Oct. 29. If more than two U.S. women compete on all four events in qualifying, then the two with the highest overall scores advance to the all-around final.

MORE GYMNASTICS: A look at recent Olympians’ comebacks

Here’s a look at the U.S. team and each gymnast’s credentials:

Simone Biles: The two-time reigning World all-around champion and three-time reigning U.S. champion. The 18-year-old Texan could become the first woman to win three straight World all-around titles. She could also break Alicia Sacramone‘s U.S. record for career Worlds medals. Sacramone earned 10 medals over five Worlds. Biles has nine in her first two, after bagging a U.S. women’s record five medals at a single Worlds in 2014. Biles has won nine straight all-around competitions, with her last defeat coming March 30, 2013.

Gabby Douglas: The Olympic all-around champion will compete at Worlds for the first time since her 2011 debut. She took 31 months off from competition after London 2012, returning in March. She’s finished fourth, second and fifth in three all-around competitions this year, with Biles winning all of those titles.

Aly Raisman: The Olympic floor exercise champion is also at Worlds for the first time since 2011 after taking a 31-month break following London 2012. She’s finished third, fifth and third in three all-arounds this year, all won by Biles. Raisman earned the P&G Championships floor exercise title in August over Biles, the two-time reigning World champion in the event.

Maggie Nichols: The Little Canada, Minn., native whose Twitter handle is @MagsGotSwag12, finished second in the P&G Championships all-around, behind Biles and ahead of Raisman and Douglas. She was third at the 2014 P&G Championships and looked destined for her first Worlds team then until dislocating her left kneecap the following week.

Madison Kocian: She’s the P&G champion on uneven bars, the only apparatus for which she was used in the 2014 World Championships team final. The last American to win an Olympic or Worlds uneven bars title was Nastia Liukin in 2005.

Brenna Dowell: She made the 2013 Worlds team and traveled to Antwerp, Belgium, but was designated the alternate with Biles, Ross and Maroney competing in the all-around in qualifying. At that Worlds (but not this one), a maximum of three women per country could compete per apparatus. She was also an alternate for the 2014 Worlds team and is strongest on uneven bars and floor exercise. Dowell, who is taking a year off from competing for Oklahoma University, is the first U.S. women’s gymnast with NCAA experience to make an Olympic or Worlds team since Sacramone in 2011.

MyKayla Skinner: Skinner finished third on vault and fourth on floor exercise at the 2014 Worlds and then second to Biles in the all-around at the American Cup on March 7. She was second on vault and third on floor at the P&G Championships in August.

MORE GYMNASTICS: Analyzing U.S. men’s World Championships team

Rio Olympic equestrian may be moved outside Brazil

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The head of the Brazilian Equestrian Confederation has warned that equestrian events at next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics might have to take place outside Brazil.

Luiz Roberto Giugni blasted the country’s Agriculture Ministry for delays in issuing documentation needed to allow horses brought into Brazil from Europe, the United States and Canada to leave the country.

He warned that if the ministry doesn’t act before the end of the month, “we run the risk of not having the event in Brazil.”

Regulations for bringing horses to and from Brazil are strict. The country is still subject to diseases affecting horses, including glanders, a lethal bacterial infection recently diagnosed in several horses here.

Guigni was speaking on Wednesday at an event in Sao Paulo.