WIN: Anthony Robles
Last night, my buddy and I sat at the bar while sipping on some beers. The television directly in front of us had the NCAA Wrestling Championships on. With multiple NCAA Tournament games going on at the same time, I was about to ask a bartender if there was any chance they could put the NCAA Tournament on instead of the wrestling. Then something happened that prevented me from making that request- Arizona State University senior Anthony Robles began wrestling for the 125-pound national championship.
What made that a big deal? Well, Robles has only one leg. And he won.
Not just did he win, but he absolutely dominated as he's done over his entire undefeated season, winning by a score of 7-1 over Iowa's Matt McDonough. It was both amazing and inspiring to watch.
As Ashley Fox points out for the AZ Central, while Robles has an obvious disadvantage by having only one leg, he does have an advantage in having a bigger upper body than his opponents, and he's made the most of that advantage:
"Robles wanted to be a national champion, not just an All-American, but to accomplish his goal he had to become mentally tougher.
The physical part he had down, even with only one leg.
Robles has a bigger upper body than most of his opponents in the 125-pound weight class, and in a sport that is all about imposing your style on your opponent, Robles has a distinct advantage.
He cannot stand up and wrestle, so he forces his opponents to stay low on the mat.
Once Robles gets on an opponent's back, like he did Saturday night against McDonough, he is virtually impossible to beat."
I saw a few people on Facebook seeming almost unimpressed by Robles' national championship because of his upper body advantage, and because his opponents cannot perform techniques like the double-leg takedown.
I get those arguments, but give me a break; the guy has one leg! The fact that he's even gotten himself to work so hard and get to this point is as incredible as the national championship victory itself. He's had a much more difficult life to deal with than most of us, and he found a passion and devoted himself to mastering that passion. He most certainly did that, and I applaud the hell out of it, as we should all be doing.
Anyway, here's video of Robles performing in his national championship-winning match: