Blake Leeper

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

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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

2018 French Open women’s draw

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Unseeded Serena Williams will play Czech Kristyna Pliskova in the French Open first round, with Maria Sharapova as a possible fourth-round opponent.

Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles titlist and three-time winner at Roland Garros, plays her first Grand Slam since giving birth to daughter Alexis Ohanian on Sept. 1. Williams was not given a seen by French Open organizers as she comes back from maternity leave, ranked No. 453 due to her absence.

Williams has played four WTA Tour matches, all in March, since winning the 2017 Australian Open. She is one Grand Slam singles title shy of Margaret Court‘s career record of 24.

Pliskova, whose identical twin is former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, is ranked No. 70 and has never advanced past the third round of a Grand Slam in singles.

Williams is on the opposite half of the draw as older sister Venus Williams, U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens, Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki and defending French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Other noteworthy first-round matchups: No. 1 Simona Halep against American Alison Riske and 2016 French Open winner Garbine Muguruza against 2009 French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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MORE: French Open TV, streaming schedule

Brazil beach volleyball shakeup breaks up world champions

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Olympic champions Alison and Bruno‘s breakup was quickly felt throughout the top level of Brazilian beach volleyball. The 2017 World champions are no longer a pair as a result.

Alison, the 6-foot-8 blocker nicknamed “Woolly Mammoth” with a matching rib tattoo, will now partner with Andre, a 2017 World champion with Evandro.

Bruno, a 6-foot-1 defensive standout known as the “Magician,” will play with former partner Pedro. Pedro and Evandro made up the other Brazilian team at the Rio Olympics, getting eliminated in the quarterfinals and then breaking up at the end of 2016 as Evandro began playing with Andre.

Andre and Evandro’s announced breakup came days after they won the most recent FIVB World Tour event in Itapema, Brazil, without dropping a set in six matches.

“I’m very frustrated with [Andre’s] decision,” Evandro said, according to an FIVB translation of a Globo story, “but it happened, and I need to move forward.”

Evandro will be reunited with Vitor Felipe, according to the FIVB. Abrupt changes in Brazilian partnerships, sometimes with federation involvement, are common.

The biggest rival to the top Brazilian pairs the last two seasons has been the U.S. team of 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and his 2016 Olympic partner, Nick Lucena.

Dalhausser and Lucena won the first of three majors this season in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in March. They also won the last major of the 2017 season as well as the World Tour Finals, beating Andre and Evandro in the latter final.

The next major tournament this season is in Gstaad, Switzerland, in July. There are no world championships in even-numbered years.

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