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Thompson: One-Legged Wrestling Champ Inspires

By Brad Thompson--

After winning a wrestling national championship as a senior in high school, Anthony Robles set his sights on achieving excellence in college. He earned a wrestling scholarship to Arizona State and knew the competition at the Division I level would be fierce. He didn't let that stop him.

This year in his senior season at ASU, he accomplished his goal. Robles won the NCAA national championship in the 125-pound weight class, completing an undefeated season (36-0).

This was a tremendous achievement for Robles, but what makes it even more remarkable is Robles accomplished it with only one leg.

He was born without a right leg, but didn't let that stop him from reaching the pinnacle of his sport.

Robles' story is an inspiring one, especially in a day and age when so much attention is given to the negative stories in college sports. It's disappointed to hear stories about college athletes getting in trouble, like the most recent situation with Michael Floyd at Notre Dame.

While these stories about student-athletes are newsworthy, they receive far too much attention. More time should be devoted to the positive stories coming out of college athletics, such as Robles' story.

It's stories like this that make you stop and think about your own life. It helps to put your own struggles in perspective. My initial reaction when I heard about Robles' accomplishment was disbelief. As I learned more about it, the details were astounding.

What I find most inspiring about Robles is not that he achieved greatness in college wrestling with only one leg, although it certainly is incredible. It's his mindset regarding his situation. He doesn't like the word disability and truly believes he doesn't have one.

And if you think his attitude and performance are inspiring, just think about what his story must mean to people facing similar situations as his. He's demonstrated through hard work, dedication and an amazing display of heart that achieving goals even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles is possible.

Even in high school Robles' story garnered national attention, but he remains a humble and focused individual. His character and perspective have kept him grounded and will no doubt help him in his future endeavors. Now that he's done wrestling he wants to become a motivational speaker, a career that certainly appears within reach.

Any time a person achieves excellence against great odds, it's inspiring. Robles is just the latest athlete to show the world how special a person he is. It's stories like his that must be showcased and passed on to remind us all what is possible.

Do you agree with Brad? Post your comments below.

Jeff Pearl
Brad Thompson

Brad M. Thompson, a former college football player and coach, made his return to the Midwest in 2009 after fighting wildfires out West. He earned his master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and covers the Big Ten Conference and Chicago sports. Follow him on Twitter at @Brad_M_Thompson. Find more of Brad's blogs here.

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