Unfair Advantage?

Throughout my lifetime, I have always been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember. Over the years, there have been many heart-warming (or breaking) events that have gone down as historical moments. From Kirk Gibson hitting the walk-off home run on practically one leg in the World Series for the Dodgers to the Red Sox breaking the 100+ year World Series curse after shocking my New York Yankees in 2004, there have been tons of great moments. But, one moment that really stood out to me and still does stand out was the incredible feat accomplished by Arizona State wrestler Anthony Robles. For those who do not know about this athlete, Robles went 36-0 his senior year and went on to win the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championship for 125 pounders. Oh yeah, Robles only has one leg. He was born without it and refused to use a prosthetic leg. I think it is safe to say that it paid off. But, like most things in life, there are always people who try to find the negative side in even the most feel-good stories such as this one. The big question arose if having one leg gave Robles an unfair advantage against the competition. Scientifically speaking, it does. Depending on the person, the human leg accounts for 15-25 % of a person's total body weight. So, in Robles' case, he potentially could put on that extra weight of about 30 pounds and put it somewhere else in his body. Basically, Robles was wrestling opponents with an extra 30 pounds in his upper body. To add to that, wrestling is a sport where "shooting for the legs" is vital in one's success. His opponents obviously only could go for one leg when facing Robles, so some say that is an advantage for him as well. Thirdly, I would bet that some opponents were mentally weak when facing Robles too due to practically every neutral fan siding with him and because they would have to switch up their entire game-plan in preparation for Robles.

So, with all this in mind, what are your guys opinions and thoughts on Robles? Does he have an unfair advantage? Or are people just overreacting? Personally, I think that this is a tough topic to dissect. Yes, Robles is stronger even though he weighs the same as his opponents. With that being said, the guys still got one leg. He obviously is forced to adjust more than his opponents would ever have to.




I don't think his situation is unfair because his opponents know what they're facing. I doubt that they feel mentally hurt trying to fight this guy, but instead see it as a tough challenge.

For Robles himself, he had to work harder than most to reach that stage. Sure, his missing limb might have given him a few advantages, but that only meant he had to work twice as hard to gain more upper strength and be able to wrestle properly.

Overall, I would say that Robles story is an inspiring one that shows determination. He must have been really motivated, and that leads to another question. What made him want to wrestle in such a hopeless condition. I know I wouldn't want to move around too much with a single leg, let alone wrestling.

Being born uniped is a challenge in itself, and not one that most have to endure. Looking at the average baby learning to crawl and then eventually walk is substantially differnt for kids who have only one leg. You have to center your body in a whole different way. It would be interesting to see what critics of Robles have to say after learning how to master this task. I think one man overcoming the difficulties this presents is pretty significant, and he should be applauded for finding advantages in his "disadvantages" compared to most.

I am also a huge sports fan, I have been my whole life, and I love hearing about all types of stories in sports, especially the heartwarming ones. I remember reading up on Anthony Robels back when he won the National Championship and I just thought to myself as to how amazing it was that a guy with one leg could accomplish such a feat. I do not know too much about wrestling, but I do know that he takes a lot of overall strength. On this issue of him having an unfair advantage, I take the side that he does only have one leg, a life disadvantage in itself. I see that it is possible that he could add weight elsewhere and that if a major wrestling move is to go for the legs, opponents will have trouble with that move on him, but he has had to work twice as hard just to get to where he is. I agree with Eugene in that his opponents know what they are going to face when they see that they will compete in a match. Just as Anthony has to figure out how to be quick on one foot, opponents will have to figure out a different way to try and pin him, it goes both ways.

This story reminds me of Oscar Pistorius the South African Olympian runner who warmed the hearts of millions this past summer competing with no legs, just prosthetics. There were some critics that thought the "blade runner" had an advantage due to the light blades which allowed him to lift his legs quicker while running. Personally, I just don't see someone like Robels or Pistorius as having a huge advantage in their sport, both of this individuals have pretty severe disabilities that they have to overcome to compete at the highest level. If they had a real advantage, don't you think the officials for both sports would put an end to them competing with "able-bodied" athletes?

I love stories like this. It is a great story of a person overcoming the odds and accomplishing greatness. People who are critics of this story must put themselves in the shoes of the other person and all the struggles they had to overcome since birth. Sports helps bring these people to the spotlight and allows them to be inspirations to others around the world.

Another example of this is former pitcher Jim Abbott who was born without a right hand. When preparing to pitch the ball, he would rest the glove on the end of his right forearm. After releasing the ball, he would quickly slip his hand into the glove, usually in time to field any balls that a two-handed pitcher would be able to field. This is an incredible story of a man defying the odds. I don't think any of these give an athlete a special advantage. Really the only thing that creates an advantage would be an athlete using steroids.

Here is a YouTube link of Jim Abbott in action...

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