How A Boy Born Without Legs Persevered To Become Record-Breaking Olympian.

It’s not the cards you’re dealt, it’s how you play them.

It sounds trite, and you’ve definitely read this on one motivational poster or the other somewhere along the way. But if this little platitude still doesn’t hold water, look no further than Patrick “Blake” Leeper, the U.S. Paralympic athlete who’s been medaling in track and field events since he first appeared on the scene in 2011.

blake leeper inspirational

He was born with both legs missing beneath the knee and fitted with his first prosthetics when he was just nine months old. The new limbs allowed him to participate in basketball, baseball, and all the other sports boys his age enjoy. But it was also during one of those games that he had one of life’s defining moments.

blake leeper baseball

His bat connected with the ball with a “thwack” and (after recovering from shock) he started rounding the bases, ecstatic that he’d finally hit a home run! All his teammates would finally accept him and shower him with praise, and his dad would be so proud! In fact, his dad was right there at third base, cheering him on! He chugged his little legs as hard as he could and surged forward, getting closer and closer, he was almost there …

And then his leg fell off.

I’m sitting there in the dirt with my leg, one leg on, one leg off, and I felt like I let my father down, I felt like I let my teammates down. I was mad at myself. I was mad at the world. I remember asking myself, “Why me?” … This isn’t fair. Why am I the one born without legs? Why am I the one that has to go through this?”


That’s a question all of us would ask ourselves, given the same situation. But he realized that self pity was also self defeating, and that he was asking questions about something he couldn’t do anything about. If he stayed stuck in that place, he’d never move forward, never feel the satisfaction of finally hitting a homer. (Much less breaking a world record previously set by his fellow Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius.)

blake leeper race

So I decided to flip it. I decided to take control over it. Started to ask myself, “Well, why not? I’m meant for this.” Or, “Why not me? I’m strong enough for this.” “Well, why not me? I’m smart enough for this.” Everything that we go through is for a reason. Whether it’s something big or something small, it’s preparing us for our next mission.

He overcame that first big disappointment, dusted himself off and moved forward, refusing to admit defeat or listen to the naysayers.


And from the moment he started pounding his high school track with his new set of running blades, feeling the wind blasting across his face and the sweat trickling down his skin, the cheers coming from the stands as he sped past, his path was set: He was going into track and field.


My story is that anything is possible. You can do anything as long as you set your mind to it and as long as you focus hard and you put 120% effort in whatever task that is at hand.

Can you believe this guy?!

blake leeper medals

Life is 10% of what you’re dealt with and 90% on how you deal with it. Focus on that 90%. That 10%, you have no control over.

Watch the video below to hear him talk more about that long-ago t-ball game, and his second “defining moment” in high school, both of which combined to define the rest of his life. Oh, and speaking of defining things: Blake doesn’t let the fact that he doesn’t have legs define him at all. What most would view as his “disability” is, in fact, “my ability.”

Share this man’s story to spread more of his can-do spirit!

Blake Leeper: The Day I Stopped Asking 'Why Me?'

Track and field star Blake Leeper tells you how to control the 90% of your life you actually have control over

Posted by The Daily Goalcast on Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Share your story & inspire the world.
If you have an uplifting story we would love to hear about it! Share it with us here.

Share to Give!

$6.75 raised today to provide life-changing cleft surgeries to children in need with Smile Train! Learn more here.

Share to Give!

Every time you share an article, we donate to Smile Train to help provide life-changing cleft surgeries to children in need. Spread good news, change lives! Learn more here.

$6.75 raised today!

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.