Paralympic medalist and double amputee Blake Leeper is set to race at the USATF Outdoor Championships (Summer Champions Series) on Thursday, his first meet since the end of a two-year suspension.
Leeper, born without lower legs and using prosthetics since he was a toddler, is in the 400m field in Sacramento, Calif. He is set to race in the preliminary heats beginning at 10:46 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.
USA Track and Field could not recall a double amputee previously competing at a USATF Outdoor Championships. Legally blind Paralympic champion runner Marla Runyan made U.S. Olympic teams in 2000 and 2004.
Leeper earned 200m bronze and 400m silver (behind Oscar Pistorius) in his class at the 2012 London Paralympics and has long harbored a goal of racing at a U.S. Track and Field Championships and the Olympics.
Leeper also tested positive for cocaine in 2015.
A two-year ban was reduced to one year by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, allowing him to qualify for the Rio Paralympics.
But the International Paralympic Committee appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. CAS ruled in favor of the IPC, and Leeper’s ban lasted until June 20, 2017.
Leeper’s time from the Rio Paralympic Trials of 46.1, an American record in his class, was four tenths shy of the automatic qualifying time for the USATF Outdoor Championships.
But he was accepted into the field, along with four others who were close to the qualifying time, and 2012 Olympian Manteo Mitchell, whose seed time was 46.85.
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