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March 29, 2011 / Mark Kerrigan

Wrestler with One Leg Wins NCAA Title


In the Human Factor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces you to survivors who have overcome tremendous odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed. Today, meet Anthony Robles of Arizona State University. OnSaturday night reached the pinnacle of college wrestling by winning the NCAA title in the 125-pound weight class. Hear from him  how he was able to win despite being born without his right leg and hip bone.

I was born without a right leg, but that has never stopped me. Many My parents raised me just like my siblings. My siblings and friends treated me as I was no different. I played sports and didn’t let being born this way affect how I lived my life.

My parents taught me that if I wanted to do something, I could set my mind to it and go do it. I have carried that way of living throughout my life and throughout my career. Because of this, I became a national champion.

Throughout my life, I have learned that no matter what obstacles I have encountered, I push myself to find a way to overcome. Other people said I couldn’t do the same things as others and, in some ways, they are right. But that never stopped me in the past and it won’t stop me in the future.

During my time as a wrestler in high school and college, I wanted no special treatment, and coaches and teammates listened. I have climbed Piestewa Peak in Phoenix, using my crutches to reach 1,190 feet of elevation. I have completed an 8-minute mile on the track.

I have continued to work hard to be the best and I reached my goal by winning the national title and going undefeated at 125 pounds this season. Now that I am moving on from wrestling on the mat, I hope that I can help others by using my story to motivate them to continue to wrestle their obstacles and come out on top, just as I did.

I want people to know that no matter what others say and what others think, every person has a chance to overcome obstacles by staying focused on your goals and on the positives and kicking the negativity of others aside. People often ask me if I was given the chance to change anything about me and I always tell them no. God made me this way and He did so for a reason. I really feel that He made me this way so that I can be an example to others to show what determination and hard work can accomplish.

Everything that I have gone through, everything I have accomplished and every obstacle I have overcome, all have made me the way I am today and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I came into my senior season wanting to be unstoppable and I achieved my goal. Now, I hope I can help others do the same.

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