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Anthony Robles: Standing Tall on One Leg June 27, 2011

Jun 27th, 2011 | By admin | Category: Uncategorized

You may have seen Anthony Robles in the news. His bright yellow wrestling singlet shines, richly complementing his warm brown skin. He is the young man from Arizona State who recently won the 125 pound wrestling title at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. What is notable about Anthony Robles–aside from the fact that he is young, handsome and Hispanic–is his missing leg. Anthony Robles was born without a right leg. Not having a leg puts a whole different spin on being a champion wrestler.

The essence of Anthony Robles is about how he honed and perfected his strengths and minimized his weaknesses. Robles told an Associated Press Reporter, “My parents raised me to believe I could do whatever I set my mind to. I grew up thinking that way. I didn’t think of my condition as something that could hold me back. I just thought this is how God made me and I’m going to make the best of it.”

According to several reports, when Robles was a toddler he was fitted with a prosthetic leg. At age three, he tore off the leg and refused to wear it again.

Robles told the Associates Press, “Don’t stay concerned with the negatives — what can hold me back, what my disadvantages are. I stay focused on the positive things — what I have, what I can do.”

When asked about the challenge he faced as a wrestler, Robles said, “It doesn’t have to be a missing leg, you could have any obstacle in your life. Whatever that is, you don’t have to let that prevent you from doing things. You don’t have to let the negativity of people or the doubters stop you from going after your dreams.”

According to some sports observers, as a sophomore and junior, Robles tended at critical moments to forget the mantra “play your game” and did not lead with his own strengths, resulting in losses in the NCAA tournament. As a senior, he consistently transformed his physical disadvantage into a competitive advantage.

Robles made his opponents play to his great strength, which was his massively powerful upper torso. He had developed his upper body to become a formidable force to leverage–Robles is famous for his ability to swiftly lift and tilt his opponent’s body in a single powerful sweep. Robles’ disability became the source of his great strength. His upper body was larger than his opponents because his weight did not include that of a second leg.

Anthony Robles put his school, Arizona State University, on the proverbial wrestling map. On March 19, 2011, in Philadelphia, before a crowd of 18,000 at the NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championship, the 125-pound, 5’8” Robles overpowered defending NCAA champion Matt McDonough by a score of 7-1. In fact, Robles’ entire senior year at Arizona State had hit the mark of wrestling perfection – a 36-0 record.

Anthony Robles’ missing leg may be a moot point. With or without a disability, Anthony Robles is a champion for all times, and serves as a lesson for us all. Robles maximized his strength and he stayed away from his weaknesses. He developed a strategic game plan and stuck to it. We all deal with our own frailties and weaknesses. But there is something to be gained by having a profound sense of knowing who you are. When you lead with your strengths, people rarely see your weaknesses. When you stand tall on one leg, no one notices the leg that is missing. –Patricia Vaccarino
photos of Anthony Robles courtesy of Arizona State University Media Relations

Anthony Robles, the Arizona State senior who won the 125-pound title at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships is a nominee for an ESPY Award.
Robles has been nominated in category Best Male Athlete with a Disability. Winners are determined by online fan voting, and will be announced during a broadcast of the 2011 ESPY Awards on ESPN HD on July 13. Fans may cast a vote for Robles online. Voting ends July 9.

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