Paralympic medalist Blake Leeper, believed to be the first double amputee to race at a USATF Outdoor Championships, advanced out of the 400m heats in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday.
Leeper ran 45.52, third in his heat, to grab the 16th and last spot in the 400m semifinals Friday (10:34 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold).
It marked a personal best by .58 of a second for Leeper, who was racing one day after his ban for testing positive for cocaine in 2015 ended.
“I wanted to advance, but if I don’t I have won already,” Leeper said before he learned he made the semis, according to USA Track and Field. “Just being here and showing everybody what you can truly do with a disability.”
Leeper ran faster than Olympians David Verburg, Kyle Clemons, Arman Hall and Manteo Mitchell, who were all eliminated.
It’s likely that the top five or six in Saturday’s final will make the 4x400m team for the world championships in London in August.
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Breakout star Adam Rippon is hysterical, the U.S. learned during these 2018 Winter Olympics.
From all of his best one-liners to fashion advice, to healing crystals, eating In-N-Out on rooftops and Xanax, check out every outrageous Adam Rippon moment:
He packed healing crystals – despite how heavy they made his luggage – for everyone on the team.
“They said, ‘Don’t pack too much,’ but I packed every healing crystal I could find,” said Rippon, according to a PyeongChang 2018 media release. “It’s quartz and quartz is very heavy and I have brought plenty of it for everyone.
“I’ll bring anything, it won’t hurt. It’s the Olympics. I threw some of them in my skates, in my bag.”
But of course, he still had to perform in the Games – and he delivered.
Rippon delivered a solid men’s free skate as part of the team event program. His performance was the third best, behind Canada and Olympic Athletes from Russia.
Watch all of the best Adam Rippon moments by clicking here
For nearly three straight weeks, curling dominated the Olympic airwaves, and while the U.S., Sweden and Canada all came away with gold medals, there were still plenty of highlights away from the ice.
In the mixed doubles tournament, fans were introduced to Team USA’s #HamFam, Matt and Becca Hamilton, who became instant sensations. Matt was even confused for some other celebrities, as people tried to nail down exactly who he looked like.