Blake Leeper Becomes First Paralympic Player Ever in Nike Underwear Campaign: ‘We’re All One’

Blake Leeper Nike

Nike Blake Leeper

Blake Leeper is grateful to be different – and happy that a major company emphasizes that.

The Sprinter Appears in Nike’s New National men’s underwear campaign, the first ever Paralympic athlete and double amputee to do so.

Speaking to PEOPLE about the partnership earlier this year, Leeper—a Tennessee native who was born without lower legs—says, “It speaks volumes about inclusion.”

“Nike is always at the forefront of inclusion,” says Leeper. “I hope some people… get the message and say that we are all one now. We are all in this together.”

Having “Nike as a family,” he says, is characterized by “love and support.” “And as a disabled athlete, it’s just how Nike treats me. It just amazes me.”

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“We may look different and yes, we may be unique in certain areas, but in the end we are all the same and we all have to belong,” Leeper continues. “And how awesome will this be when this campaign comes out and there’s going to be a disabled kid who sees it?”

Nike

Nike

Nike Blake Leeper

Blake Leeper

Blake Leeper

Nike Blake Leeper

Leeper made his Paralympic debut in 2012, winning a bronze and a silver medal. The following year, at the World Para Athletics Championships, he won a gold medal in the men’s 4 × 100 m relay. He has fought to compete in an Olympics but lost his appeal earlier this year when the Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed that his parestheses gave him an unfair advantage.

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Despite the disappointing setback, Leeper said he was focused on manifesting “nothing but greatness in my life.”

“When I was born without legs, I learned one thing: sometimes you have to make lemonade out of lemons,” he told PEOPLE. “And these are the lemons we dealt with.”