There is a good chance you have no idea who Anthony Robles is, and I don’t blame you. But, you should. For his story is one of the most inspirational and remarkable in sports history, despite almost never ever being talked about. It is a story of overcoming adversity and roadblocks in life to still go on and achieve your dreams, no matter what the circumstances.
Anthony Robles was born in Mesa, Arizona. But Robles wasn’t born like everyone else. For unknown reasons, Robles was born with only one leg. For his entire life he refused to wear a prosthetic, as his other leg hadn’t even come in at all, and thus there was no extension or stump left to attach a prosthetic to.
Obviously, life was very hard for Robles, but he was motivated to work around the hardships and be the best person he could be. He decided that to work around his missing leg, he would look to strengthen the rest of his body by working out and exercising hard. In order to further challenge himself in life, Robles decided to begin wrestling in the eighth grade.
Unfortunately, it was a long road for Robles as he had the worst record of any wrestler in his home town as a freshman in high school, largely because he was 10 lbs underweight for his weight class. However, his use of crutches all his life gave him a huge advantage in grip strength than most people his age. After a lot more training and really focusing on wrestling, Robles finally figured it out.
Robles was able to figure out that his unique center of gravity would allow him to better defend against attacks, and then also was able to become extremely skilled at a number of different offensive attacks. In his sophomore year he rose to sixth in the city and in his junior and senior years, he went an amazing 96-0, en route to winning nationals as a senior.
Despite his great high school career, none of his top choices of colleges recruited him, likely due to the fact he only has one leg. Instead, he went to Arizona State, where he redshirted. He started his official collegiate wrestling career in 2007-08 and was nationally ranked right from his first year. While his first few seasons were solid, it was his senior season that makes this story seem like it comes straight from a Hollywood script.
In his last year of eligibility (2010-11) he went an astounding 36-0 becoming a Pac-10 champion. He would even gain a spot in the national championship match, where he would dethrone the reigning champion (Matt McDonough from Iowa). Not only did he win the match, he dominated it 7-1. This was huge news in the world of wrestling as something like this had never been seen before.
Anthony Robles truly has proven that anything is possible if you work your ass off and put your mind to it. Since then, Robles has stated he would love nothing more than to be a motivational speaker, specifically for others who face similar challenges in life that he did.