Young Man Born Without Arms and Legs is a Star Wrestler, Inspiration to Others

National   Steven Ertelt   Jul 25, 2014   |   5:52PM    Washington, DC

Kyle Maynard is a motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur and athlete. Despite being born with arms that end at the elbows and legs near the knees, Kyle’s wrestled for one of the best teams in the Southeast, set records in weightlifting, fought in mixed martial arts, and most recently became the first man to crawl on his own to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

kylemanardMaynard was born March 24, 1986 with a condition known as congenital amputation. His parents, Scott and Anita, had no idea their firstborn son would be born with a disability, but they made a critical decision early on to drive him to be as independent as possible — beginning what Kyle calls his “pursuit of normalcy.”  And consequently, with basically two elbows he can type up to fifty words per minute on a normal keyboard, eat and write without any adaptations, drive a vehicle that has little modification, and live on his own in a three-story townhouse in Atlanta, GA.

Kyle’s athletic journey began as an 11-year-old that wanted to wrestle and a coach that gave him an opportunity to try. After losing every single match his first year and most his second, Maynard, with his iron will and parents who wouldn’t let him give up on himself, found a way to win 36 varsity matches his senior year; defeating several state place finishers and state champions during his final season.

kylemanard2Maynard also began weight training at the same age, and after a very modest start, he attained the title “GNC’s World’s Strongest Teen” by bench pressing 23 repetitions of 240 lbs. In February of 2009, with leather straps and chains attached to his arms, he successfully lifted 420 lbs.

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But Maynard’s accomplishments extend far beyond the wrestling mat or weight room. He is the 2004 ESPY Award winner (Best Athlete with a Disability), and a year later was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was elected by the U.S. Jaycees as one of the Top Ten Outstanding Young Americans. In 2008, Maynard received the Highest Recognition Award of the Secretary of Health and Human Services for his efforts as a life role model, motivational speaker and humanitarian.

Maynard is also certified as an instructor of CrossFit — and with the support of the community and founder, Coach Greg Glassman, Kyle has been able to work with wounded soldiers on adapting their fitness regimens to meet their needs with a much more functional methodology. In 2008, Kyle brought one of his oldest and most fervent dreams to life when he built and opened his first fitness center, No Excuses CrossFit.