Winning a national title with one leg is not all that

And by not all that, I mean, no miracle, and only sort of inspiring, in the way that any successful wrestler is worthy of respect considering the dieting and hard work they suffer through.

Look, it’s easy to have a weepy-wow knee-jerk reaction to Anthony Robles’ NCAA championship Saturday night–dude has one leg–but let’s calm down a bit and get sensible and scientific.

Robles, who wrestles for Arizona State, was born without that leg, so he’s really used to not having it. The kids he wrestles, they don’t practice against one-legged people, nor do they compete against them. Robles has one less limb to grab and twist. Yes, he also has one less to use, but again, he’s had that ‘problem’ his whole career, a career during which all his foes have had the same kind of body.

Here’s what one opponent had to say, in a story from the Arizona Republic in January:

“You pretty much have to get the upper hand first,” said Cal State-Bakersfield’s Tyler Iwamura, who held Robles scoreless for almost half of the first period last week. After Robles scored an initial takedown, he rolled Iwamura three times in a blur to build an 11-0 lead en route to a 19-3 win.

“It’s actually surprising how fast he is,” Iwamura said. “You think, ‘All right, he’s going one way,’ then all of a sudden he jumps sides and I’m a half-second behind.

“There are some moves I can’t do because he doesn’t have that leg. But there are also some moves he can’t do. He’s a very strong individual, I’m not going to lie. It is difficult. If he gets a hold of you, he’s not going to let go.”

anthony robles quarterfinals victory

No question that Robles has worked hard, no question that he’s skilled. No question that the other champions have too and are too. They also should have been highlighted by a national media that looks in on one of the world’s toughest sports only when a couple kids pose for a gay website or when ‘handicapped’ guys do well.

The only reason they didn’t get their name on a crawl is because they’re not freaky to look at.

Anthony, congratulations. You are an NCAA champ and there’s no separate division for the handicapped. Plus you’ll make a mint on the motivational speaker circuit.

ESPN….Boo.

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    what’s a leg weigh…30, 40 lbs? he probably has the upper body of a guy at least two or three weight classes higher.

  • http://twitter.com/adamstbear St. Bear

    what’s a leg weigh…30, 40 lbs? he probably has the upper body of a guy at least two or three weight classes higher.

    This is a much bigger issue than the “kids he wrestles isn’t used to wrestling a one-legged guy.” If he had both legs, he’d easily be in the 149 or 157 weight classes. They even said on ESPN how much stronger he is than everyone else. How many 125lbs kids can bench 300+ pounds?

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    How many 125lbs kids can bench 300+ pounds?

    Trey enters thread to talk about how much he can bench in 5, 4, 3…

  • http://joebushfreelance.com vez

    st. bear you’re just making my case stronger…..right?

  • ParrishWalton

    I feel so strange today. My entire body is out of whack after last weekend.

  • Sanders

    How many 125lbs kids can bench 300+ pounds?

    None who are taller than 5-2 and don’t have stubs, I can promise you that.

  • HawkEye

    I feel so strange today. My entire body is out of whack after last weekend.

    I’m surprised you still have liver function

  • TheTicketMaster

    I think this raises a worthy discussion topic.

    What appendage would you sacrifice for a competitive advantage in which sport?

    I think the sports are limited to those with weigh in requirements.

    And Kidneys or superfluous/redundant organs are excluded.

  • http://sergeant-says.blogspot.com/ SergeantSays

    I can honestly say this is the most assinine article I’ve ever read on this site.
    This is like the French claiming Lance Armstrong had an advatage only having one nut! Whether it makes his upper body bigger for his class, or he’s had it his whole life…HE ONLY HAS ONE LEG! There is no advatage to that.
    And not to mention, most people (likely all of us included) if we were born with one leg wouldn’t have even had the courage to wrestle or do anything against able body people.

    Boo ESPN? No, I applaude them for making this a big deal so every kid out there with a disability can think that maybe for one moment they aren’t “hanicapped” and don’t need a special division.

    Anyone that tries to take anything away from him or even tries to say he has an advatage is truly ignorant.

  • http://thevictoryformation.com patphish

    I can honestly say this is the most assinine article I’ve ever read on this site.

    You haven’t been around here very long.

  • TheTicketMaster

    or even tries to say he has an advatage is truly ignorant.

    I think he has an advantage. It may be insensitive and this man is truly inspirational, but I think he has an advantage in the strictest sense of the sport.

    I’d welcome the rational evaluation from a knowledgeable wrestler on the impact of the tradeoff of one leg for more upper body strength .

  • http://sergeant-says.blogspot.com/ SergeantSays

    It’s impossible. You can figure out how much more upper body weight you can carry based on the weight of a leg…but then how can you quantify the impact on not having a second leg?
    Or how about this, how do wrestlers build cardio training? Running? Biking? jogging? eliptical? Let’s factor how much harder training is with only one leg.
    Then let’s also factor in how only having one leg may throw off your center of gravity and balance.
    How much harder are doing squats with only one leg?

    …I’m not seeing a huge overall advantage here

  • Sanders

    How much harder are doing squats with only one leg?

    Much, but they’re also a lot more beneficial. Isolation exercises typically are. Though, with the balance issue only having one leg likely presents, I would imagine he does most of his leg work with squat machines, leg presses, extensions, etc. I would imagine that only having one leg pretty much eliminates any kind of explosive exercises like cleans or snatches, which are key strength-building exercises for a wrestler.

    I’m torn about the nature of this post. On one hand, I know it’s written with no malicious intent and there are some built-in advantages to only having one leg. On the other, HE HAS ONE LEG and it smells of, “well, they’ve been talking about something a lot on ESPN, we need to snark about it.”

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    I think he has an advantage. It may be insensitive and this man is truly inspirational, but I think he has an advantage in the strictest sense of the sport.

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    dammit…I was trying to quote TTM. let’s try that again:

    I think he has an advantage. It may be insensitive and this man is truly inspirational, but I think he has an advantage in the strictest sense of the sport.

    I agree with this. saying he has a wrestling advantage doesn’t take away from the fact he’s persevered over so much adversity in his life. if anything, it’s defnintely not treating him as handicapped. it’s like saying Shaq has an advantage because he’s abnormally gigantic.

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    I think this raises a worthy discussion topic.

    What appendage would you sacrifice for a competitive advantage in which sport?

    I’d give my left nut to win 7 Tour de France titles.

  • http://sergeant-says.blogspot.com/ SergeantSays

    it’s like saying Shaq has an advantage because he’s abnormally gigantic.

    .
    Nail it right there. It’s not an advatage or disadvantage, it’s just the way it is. He should be put on a pedestal because what he’s overcome is inspriational. And I 100% agree with Sanders, this is Jim Rome Syndrome. It’s in the media so lets bitch about it.

    You don’t always need to have an option contrary to everything out there. Sometimes we should just step back and appreciate what happens. Let’s just appreciate what this kid has done and what he’s overcome because eventually his wrestling career will end and he’ll still just have one leg and the memories of his amazing championship.

  • TheTicketMaster

    Sometimes we should just step back and appreciate what happens

    I agree fully. I agree it is what it is and he’s truly inspirational.

    But i don’t think it’s snarky or contrarian to simply evaluate whether there is an inherent advantage.

  • http://thevictoryformation.com patphish

    He should be put on a pedestal because what he’s overcome is inspriationalthat’s where wrestlers collect their medals.

  • TheTicketMaster

    He should be put on a pedestal

    just because he’s got one leg doesn’t mean he can’t get there himself.

    Be a little sensitive here guys.

  • http://sergeant-says.blogspot.com/ SergeantSays

    But i don’t think it’s snarky or contrarian to simply evaluate whether there is an inherent advantage.

    .

    No, it’s not snarky to ask the question… but stuff like:
    1. Kids don’t practice against kids with one leg.
    2. He was born with it so it’s not a real difference.
    3. Quotes like “he’s had that ‘problem’ his whole career”
    That’s snarky…not inquisitive.

  • http://sergeant-says.blogspot.com/ SergeantSays

    And I’ll add the taggs of “hanipcap” and fake handicap.
    That’s snarky , insensitive and just dumb

  • SouvenirCity

    Contrarian.

  • http://joebushfreelance.com vez

    i’d love to answer, just reading these, gotta go right now tho

  • cbh49er

    We all know the lengths wrestlers will go to make weight, so now maybe they will chop their own legs off to have an advantage.

  • http://joebushfreelance.com vez

    first of all, i hope it’s clear i was not criticizing robles. my main criticism was that a lot of other kids won titles too, and didn;t get the spotlight Robles got for an issue which was as much advantage as disadvantage.

    the fake handicap tag meant it really wasn’t a handicap as has been established—upper body strength of a 150pounder, familiarity with his own body, unfamiliarity with his body for opponents

    Never did i say this kid was playing his handicap for headlines.

    what else can i answer? sc, i don’t need to play ‘contrarian’ games, this is fun for me, not trying to make a name for myself.

    i felt strongly about the kids who worked just as hard and didn;t get national media notice, and to reveal thaat, i had to deal with his ‘handicap’

    if i messed up, it was not mentioning he truly would be an inspiration to people who have a handicap

  • http://twitter.com/adamstbear St. Bear

    I wish I didn’t have to take care of my sick son all day, there’s a lot here to address. I’ll try to focus on the advantage/disadvantage aspect.

    There are three main positions in wrestling, neutral, top, and bottom.

    When Robles is neutral (standing) with his opponent, he gets down on his hands and knee, which is not uncommon for most bipedal wrestlers to do as it negates any height advantage there may be. Yes, there are some moves that an opponent can’t do because of the missing leg, but at that level, every wrestler is proficient at either side of the body, so it’s not that big of a deal in the neutral position.

    When Robles is on top, that’s actually when he’s at a disadvantage because his missing limb limits the moves that he can do. When on top, a wrestler usually uses his legs for one of two things, balance and/or keeping his opponent on the mat. Obviously, with a leg missing, it’s harder for him to do that.

    When he’s on bottom, it’s similar to the neutral position in that the majority of the moves an opponent would do can be done on either side.

    So when he probably gets a small competitive advantage by missing a limb, it’s not as big as the advantage he gets of being a bigger/stronger wrestler than his peers. Particularly in the lower weights were 5-10lbs makes a big difference. I think the Shaq comparison is pretty apt.

  • LikeItOnFacebook

    Okay well uuhhmm Matt fuckin rules and robles didnt have to do shit but tilt and tie up while McDonough had to try to wrestle a completely different style.