Professional and world-class level athletes are in tip-top physical shape. They are at the height of their game and have abilities that most people only dream of. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some pretty incredible athletes whose abilities are different than what you might expect. We’re spotlighting wrestler Anthony Robles, a sports star who has overcome more than a few obstacles.
Robles was born on July 20, 1988. Unlike other differently abled athletes, Robles didn’t fall victim to a horrific accident or suffer an injury. The wrestler was born missing his right leg. No one knew why. They just knew that he’d have to live life with only one leg. That could have stopped him from doing just about anything. Lots of people who have a birth defect or have had an amputation, give up or decide that they can’t do the same things that other people can. That wasn’t for Robles. When he was 14, the would-be athlete decided to try out for his school’s wrestling team!
The Road to Wrestling
Trying out for the wrestling team was just the start for Robles. Not only was he competing with only one leg, but he was also the smallest athlete on the team. Having two strikes against him might have meant failure but that didn't stop Robles. He kept going. Even though he came in last place at the Mesa City wrestling tournament in his home state of Arizona, he didn’t quit. There are athletes that would say, “Forget it” or just give in and get out. Robles didn’t let his disability or small size end his new wrestling career.
Support and Belief
A few years after ending up in last place, the wrestler was ready to graduate from high school – with a 96-0 record that he earned during his eleventh and twelfth grade years. He was also a two-time Arizona State Champion and high school National Champion. That’s right, with only one leg Robles was able to beat the top wrestlers in the state.
Fortunately, Robles has an incredibly supportive family. Along with that, he has an amazing attitude. When things don't go his way, he doesn’t let it get him down. At least, not forever. Robles believes in himself. He doesn’t just think he can succeed, he knows it. It is this belief that keeps him going and stops him from giving up.
Even though he was a major success, Robles didn’t have an easy time getting into college. You might think that a two-time state champ would have colleges begging him to wrestle for him. But, that didn’t happen. The schools thought that Robles was still too small. And, then there was the missing leg issue. They just didn’t believe in him or his ability. Of course, this wasn’t the first time that the athlete faced major obstacles. His whole life had been filled with obstacles that he had to overcome. This time was no different. Robles did make his dreams of wrestling at the college level come true. Through hard work, dedication and the belief that he could do anything he set his mind to, he convinced the Arizona State team to take him on. In 2011 Robles won the NCAA championship title (for the 125-pound weight class). The same year that he won his championship title Robles also won the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2011 ESPY’s.
In 2012, Robles was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Even though he no longer wrestles, the athlete continues inspiring kids and adults around the globe. Robles is a motivational speaker now, and helps others believe in themselves as much as he has always believed in himself.
Image Credit: Anthony Robles