One legged wrestler takes NCAA div I championship
“I really don’t see missing my leg as a handicap. You know, my parents raised me strong and they didn’t give me any special treatment. So, I believe I can do anything I set my mind to and wrestling is something I enjoy, I love it and I’m just trying to be (the) best at it” - Anthony Robles
Anthony Robles came into this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Wrestling Tournament as the number 1 ranked seed at 125 pounds and left host city Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as champion and the undisputed best collegiate wrestler in the country at his weight class. He was born with no right hip bone; a handicap that hasn’t yet stopped him pursuing his dreams.
At his High School in Mesa, AZ, two-time team captain Robles won the state championship twice, finishing his high school career with a 129-15 record, undefeated in his last two years of competition, and winning a National High School Championship accolade.
He was a shoe in for Tempe’s Arizona State University wrestling team The Sun Devils, joining in the Autumn of 2006.
Having one leg as it turns out did have its advantages. Without the additional weight a leg brings (and a leg can make up a fifth of a person’s entire bodyweight) Robles built his upper body mass, becoming significantly more powerful than his opponents while still being able to compete at the same weight. ESPN analysts Jeff Blatnik and Todd Harris commented during the televised coverage of the tournament that Robles is able to bench press 305lbs.
Wrestling with one leg also meant Robles had to develop his own innovative style. In particular he has a signature move nicknamed the Robles Roll where he somersaults over his opponents using the tilt concept in Wrestling to score points.
Robles now plans to embark on a career as an inspirational and motivational speaker - surely a walk in the park after becoming champion in the nation’s most demanding collegiate sports competition.