(WJHL) – A Kingsport Paralympian has been banned for a year for violating anti-doping rules.
Blake Leeper, 25, medaled in the 2012 Paralympic games and in a recent interview with News Channel 11 announced his plans to compete in both the 2016 Paralympic and Olympic games in Brazil.
Yesterday, the United States Anti-Doping Agency said Leeper tested positive last summer for a substance that indicates he’d used cocaine.
“It was determined that Mr. Leeper’s use of cocaine was not intended to enhance performance, and in consideration of other mitigating factors, he was deemed eligible for a reduced, one-year sanction,” the USADA said.
That sanction will expire in June.
The following is a statement sent to News Channel 11 from Leeper Tuesday evening:
I am extremely sorry for letting the members of my community and my family down. I take full responsibility for making some bad choices and allowing the wrong people to influence my life. I am looking forward to coming home to share my journey of overcoming the monumental obstacle of being born without legs and celebrating a Rocky type comeback at the Paralympics games in Rio. I plan setting the right example to our community by proving that that no dream is impossible with or without legs.”
On Tuesday, his family said Leeper still will be eligible to try to qualify in the Paralympic and Olympic trials.
Leeper told the LA Times earlier, “If I can overcome the monumental obstacle of being born without legs to become a world-class athlete, I can overcome my mistakes and become a role model Olympian which I am working hard to prove in Rio. I apologize to my fans, sponsors, friends and family and I am grateful to have this opportunity to prove that anything is possible with or without legs.”
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