Blake Leeper’s response to the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)


SAN FRANCISCO, June 11, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Winston & Strawn LLP today announced that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld World Athletics’ ban on double amputees 400m sprinter Blake leeper to compete on prostheses at 6 ‘1 “, the same height as many others 400m runners, and the same height that Mr. Leeper uses in his everyday life. The Swiss Supreme Court also dismissed his appeal.

The CAS panel has not made its decision operational and will provide a written opinion later, due to the impending Olympic trials in the United States in which Mr Leeper is now unable to participate. World Athletics based its ban on Mr Leeper on the so-called Maximum Allowed Standing Height (MASH) formula which World Athletics never adopted before applying it to Mr Leeper.

The MASH formula is based on studies that did not include a single person of African descent, like Mr. Leeper. In response to this lack of data, World Athletics relied in the proceedings on photos taken over sixty years ago of athletes from the 1960 Rome Olympics, in which two of the twelve able-bodied black athletes whose photos had been taken would have had to be amputated to run at a shorter height to compete if MASH had applied to them.

Responding to these decisions, Mr. Leeper said, “It is tragic and unfair that World Athletics is allowed to continue to discriminate against me and other black disabled athletes. I will continue to dedicate myself to being the best athlete possible and I will too. continue to do whatever I can to fight for the rights of disabled and black people, regardless of this decision. “

Jeffrey Kessler, lead counsel for Mr. Leeper said: “We are all terribly disappointed by these decisions, which perpetuate injustice against Mr. Leeper. Science and history will eventually prove that Mr. Leeper should have an equal chance to compete with all. The fight for equality will continue. For now, the world will be deprived of seeing Mr. Leeper compete against the best able-bodied athletes and the glory of the sport will be tarnished.

Winston & Strawn LLP is an international law firm with 15 offices located across North America, Asia, and Europe. More information about the firm and its world-renowned sports litigation practice is available at

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