Record-holding parathlete takes time to visit amputees in Haiti
May 14, 2011 at 11:08 AM
Blake Leeper was born without legs from the knee down. He got his first set of prosthetics at 16 months old, but says he has never thought of himself as someone with a disability.“My parents established a mind-set within me that I was no different than anyone else and that I can do anything I want to do and, if I give it my all, I’m just as good as anybody else,” said the 21-year-old Kingsport native and 2007 Dobyns-Bennett High School graduate.And this mind set is what has helped lead Leeper right where he is today –– to Chula Vista, Calif., training for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Leeper has been in California since December 2010.Leeper, who currently holds this year’s parathlete world record for the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.32 seconds, first discovered a passion for sports when he was only 4 or 5 years old.“I have an older brother who is two years older than me. So, of course, everything he did, I had to do, and do it better,” Leeper said, laughing. “My dad always coached us growing up. Read the expanded version of this report in the print edition or the enhanced electronic version of the Kingsport Times-News.