It's straight out of a Hollywood script. It doesn't matter who you are, it will give you goosebumps. It will make you cry. It is a victory that should be showed to every single aspiring athlete who doesn't know what it's like to work for something.
What is it? It's a one-legged wrestler winning an NCAA Division I Championship. Oh, you mean the handicapped version right? No. I mean the NCAA Division I 125-pound championship.
The wrestlers name is Anthony Robles, and his 7-1 victory over the defending champ Matt McDonough of Iowa completed a perfect undefeated season. I haven't made one typo yet.
After my dad texted me to tell me what had just happened, my first response was: One leg? Do you think that's an advantage?
He responded like most people would: "Huh? Are you crazy?"
Now wait a second. Before you call me an awful person for even suggesting it, just hear me out:
Firstly, what Robles did is absolutely incredible. He is an example of everything that is good about athletics and his story will probably be sold to a movie producer in the next 6 months, and it should be. But, I think I may be onto something...
Okay, so he's got one leg. What does that mean? Disadvantages: His balance must be undoubtedly worse. When he's on the ground, he can't perform a few moves that other wrestlers can involving using both legs to wrap the opposing wrestler up. And, well, that's about all I can think of.
As for the balance: If you watched the kid wrestle, he stays on the ground most of the time anyway. Besides, I'd be glad to have one less limb for some psychopathic wrestler to try and break. I mean, certain athletes have enough problems facing a left-handed/footed player - imagine wrestling people with two legs your whole life and then wrestling this guy? That must throw a few of your grapples out the window and at the very least, gives you one less leg to grab onto.
Additionally, the leg does something that you may not have considered: it cuts his weight. According to some of the information I found online (yeah, I looked it up), the legs make up about 15-22% of the average human's body weight. With both legs, Robles opponent weighed 125 pounds. Losing one leg would shave roughly 12.5 pounds (if the legs made up 20% of his weight). So, where does that weight go? I'll tell you - right to his upper body. Think I'm kidding? Take a peek at the game-tape, Robles is huge in the chest and arms compared to his opponent. He is stronger in his upper body, and not having his right leg is 100% the reason that he has the room to put that weight on. This is obviously an advantage, and once you see Robles get on the ground he just manhandles his opponents.
Finally, the mental game. Robles was born without his right leg. He's been the same man his whole life and obviously he has figured out how to deal with it. But for opposing wrestlers, you can't tell me that he doesn't give them a nice little psych out when he comes out to the mat on one crutch before destroying their National Championship hopes.
With all that being said, I don't think its quite the advantage that bionic leg guy had who was kicked out of the Olympics. There is no unfair prosthetic involved. Robles did it all on his own, within the rules, and as a true champion he did it with an amazing amount of grace.
If you don't buy he had an advantage, just remember one thing: He won. And it wasn't even close.
For footage of the match check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH1m_vM1HcI