Arizona State University wrestler Anthony Robles, who was born without a right leg, won the NCAA 125-pound men’s wrestling title in March, earning him the United States Sport Academy’s 2011 Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s Disabled Athlete Award.
The 22-year-old Robles capped his senior season and wrestling career undefeated at 36-0 and now plans to travel the country as a motivational speaker to encourage others to overcome perceived obstacles. Robles has often repeated that he never considered himself disabled.
“I want to help those kids who like myself, others wouldn’t have been given a shot,” he said following his awe-inspiring national title, which won him the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler award. “I want to help those kids rise out of nothing and achieve their goals, especially in wrestling.”
He has a book being released by the summer of 2012 by Gotham Books and there are talks underway to do a movie about his life. Robles also recently became a Nike athlete, becoming the first noncompetitive athlete to sign an endorsement deal with the company.
Robles definitely showed others that having one leg is no disadvantage in his final NCAA match. The three-time All-American placed his crutches down near the mat and hopped to the center. As always, he wrestled from a down position, supported by two arms and one knee. Then, he won 8-1 over defending national champion Matt McDonough of Iowa.
At ASU, Robles placed fourth in the NCAA tournament as a sophomore and seventh as a junior. He also earned his degree, graduating in May with a bachelor’s in business communications.