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Blake Leeper        

Paralympic Games Medalist, American Bladerunner & Motivational Speaker

Patrick “Blake” Leeper is a United States Paralympic athlete, eight-time Paralympic Track and Field international medalist, world record holder and three-time American record holder. He was born on August 31st, 1989 in Kingsport, Tennessee with both legs missing below the knee.

Leeper’s first exposure to Paralympic track and field came through the 2008 games, when he watched Oscar Pistorius’ record-setting performances earn a spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10. A switch was flipped: Leeper knew he wanted to race. He reached out to members of the United States’ 2008 Paralympics team via MySpace, eventually receiving a response from an athlete named Ryan Fann. The guidance provided by Fann would lead Blake to get his first running legs and begin his journey.

Leeper came in first place in his first event and earned attention from U.S. Paralympics coaches. He placed first in a major race in Brazil, solidifying his status as one of track’s least expected young stars. He was then invited to train with U.S. Olympians in the summer of 2010. He later took home first place at trials in Miami.

Leeper dropped out of college to pursue track at the necessary level. He arrived in San Diego in December of 2010 and spent the entirety of 2011 training. After placing fifth against Oscar Pistorius in New Zealand, Leeper spent the next year of his life devoted fully to his training.

In the first race of 2012, Leeper posted a sub-22 in the 200m -- Pistorius was the only other person in the world who had done so. By June of 2012, Blake was tying the reigning champ’s times. Then, by the time the games rolled around, Blake was posted a 21.7 in the 200m.

Leeper arrived to his first Paralympic games and earned a bronze medal in the 200m and a silver medal in the 400m. While he did fall short of his goals of beating Pistorius, he had definitively showed that track and field world that his time was coming.

After improving even more with a 47.9 at trials, Leeper was asked to take a random drug test. While the test did not show cocaine itself, it did show metabolic byproducts of the substance, which was enough to warrant a suspension.

Leeper did not walk away from the sport he loves after his ban from the 2016 games. Following what he admitted was a “dark” period for him during the games, he doubled down on his commitment to his sport.

Since his return, Leeper has set a new American record in the 200m with a time of 21.5 and a new America’s record in the 400m at 46.1 at the Paralympic trials. He took silver in the 100m despite losing a prosthetic leg crossing the finish line live on NBC.

Speech Topics

The American Bladerunner: My Personal Story

Born without legs below his knees, Blake Leeper, known as “The American Bladerunner” has never been one for excuses. He has defied the odds and won countless titles as a Paralympic runner. Now, he shares his personal yet inspiring story with all audiences. Taking them through every twist and turn, this articulate young man will have everyone on the edge of their seat, leaving the event with a sense of confidence and the determination to never give up.

Finding Abilities in Your Disabilities

Blake Leeper has faced insurmountable obstacles as a paraplegic athlete. However, he has never let his physical disabilities stop him from following his dreams. Leeper uses his life and the lessons learned as the guideline to teach audiences to find the positive abilities in their seemingly negative disabilities. Whether the wall in front of you is physical or emotional, this speech provides practical advice to push forward as well as motivation to challenge yourself to overcome any barrier you may face.

Running Towards Your Dreams

In this speech, Blake Leeper defines what it means to set your mind to accomplishing your wildest dreams. Using sport analogies and personal stories, he inspires audiences to run towards their dreams rather than walk. His encouraging and powerful message will help others believe in themselves, remain persistent and ultimately embrace their flaws to achieve their goals.

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