TheGrio's 100: Anthony Robles, NCAA wrestling champion wins big without second leg

theGRIO's 100 - Born without a right leg, Anthony Robles has defied this challenge to win the 2010-2011 NCAA individual wrestling championship in the 125-pound weight class...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Anthony Robles never let his so-called “handicap” stop him reaching for his goals. Born without a right leg, Robles tore off his prosthetic limb early on at three years old, and it’s been off ever since. But that missing leg did not stop Robles from his biggest achievement to date: winning the 2010-2011 NCAA individual wrestling championship in the 125-pound weight class.

Growing up, Robles’ mother told him that God made him that way for a reason. He found that reason in wrestling, overcoming the most impossible of obstacles to become a champion in a sport where physicality is everything.

Anthony Robles is making history as … one of the top college wrestlers in the country. While some people would bow out of sports competition when faced with a similar challenge, Robles faced his situation head on. He now says his handicap actually helps him in the ring. Robles’ faith in himself has led him to become one of Arizona State University’s most accomplished wrestlers in the school’s history.

In his own words …

“My mom raised me with my head in the clouds, so I believed I could do anything I set my mind to,” he said on his website. “This way of thinking compelled me to walk onto the Arizona State University wrestling team to prove to them, and the world, anything was possible. Although my competition days on the mat are over, I will continue to wrestle the opponents life brings my way all the while believing that I am UNSTOPPABLE.”

What’s next for Robles?

Last March Robles ended his wrestling career, opting to join the ASU coaching staff as a volunteer coach for their 2011-2012 campaign. He will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in June.

A little-known fact about disabled NCAA athletes …

During the 1990s, Aimee Mullins became the first disabled athlete to compete as a long distance runner in the NCAA.

For more information about Anthony Robles, click here.


Q: What’s next for you in this chapter of your life?

A: I am blessed to have a lot of great things going for me right now. I am currently doing motivational speaking and am a member of the Washington Speakers Bureau. I am also an official Nike athlete and am working on a book through Penguin Publishing.

Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?

A: I love to play the guitar in my spare time. I’m a wrestler and now a professional sports speaker, so you wouldn’t guess I’m something of a musician. Not the greatest, but I’m ok!

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

A: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” -Winston Churchill

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?

A: I draw my inspiration from my mom. I was born missing my leg to a 16-year-old mother, but she always stayed focused on the positive things, which caused me to have the same mindset.

Q: Who are/were your mentors?

A: I’ve had a few mentors in my life, one being my high school coach Bobby Williams. He helped me to believe I could be the best wrestler in the country, even though at the time I was ranked last in my city. Another mentor was my friend and teammate Chris Frejie. He taught me that the only difference between champions and ordinary people is that champions work harder.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams?

A: The best advice I could give to anyone would be to understand that nothing is impossible. Some things might be harder to achieve and take longer to achieve than other goals. You might fall on your face, and at times you may fail. The key is to stay focused on your goal and know that even the smallest steps are progress.