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BigApple - I don't think it is fair to assume it was bad coaching! Sometimes the athete does not listen or perform as directed by his coach! You could be absolutely right but unless you have inside information on the coaching not fair to criticize in my opinion!

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BigApple - I don't think it is fair to assume it was bad coaching! Sometimes the athete does not listen or perform as directed by his coach! You could be absolutely right but unless you have inside information on the coaching not fair to criticize in my opinion!

 

Since his coaching and his personality are off limits, what about his hair cut? Is that cool? Or do we need to know his barber on a first name basis before that is allowed?

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Zeke Jones also made some fairly disparaging comments about Robles when he was the head coach at Penn. It seems like all the guys who talked trash or didn't want him now suck up to him and praise him as a great athlete when just a few short years ago they could care less. Same with Ortiz, when you need to get read the riot act like that just to let a high school national champion be a walk on? I'm just glad he's a local and came to ASU.

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He also doesnt say when he asked Smith or Brands this question. What if it was right after the 125 lbs final that night with McDonough right next to him when this guy asked Brands? How would Smith respond to the same question right after his wrestler was beaten by Robles with the kid right next to him?

 

Too many people believe everything that they read or hear.

I'm not defending any of these previous posters for their view of this article, they are welcome to their opinions of course.

Really there is no way of knowing what Brand's answers were, or how the questions were posed, or the interviewer's attitude while asking them.

However, while Iowa takes a lot of heat they don't deserve, Brands should realize they are under a microscope and not give so much ammo to take shots with. The last part of the statement tells me that he regretted his comment very quickly.

 

Anyway, about the article. Robles is a great wrestler. I am on the advantage side of the fence, but I have a ton of respect for him and his strategies that lead to his NCAA run. I think that having him and others with similar handicaps are great for sports. Inspiration for most people, and especially children who are handicapped in any way.

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My feeling is Robles was going to win by the time he was a sr at ASU. He learned how to take full advantage of his strength, and his unique style made him so formidable.

 

From the start, Robles would drop down, and the only way to get a TD was to get through his upper body. Near impossible, given he could bench over 300lbs. His advantage in upper body strength made him a scoring machine when on top. He would grab the wrist and start tilt after tilt.... he was virtually unstoppable and I really don't think coaching would've made much difference, short of coaching something along the lines of "don't wrestle him."

 

One could keep a match closer (I think Kjar kept it reasonably close), by basically avoiding tying up and running away for period 1, try like hell to get a quick escape and then run for the rest of period 2, and do the best in period 3 to ride, and not get reversed at all costs. In other words, kind of avoid engaging Robles. It was asking for trouble.

 

You could see what he was capable before his last year, just crushing elite guys as a soph and jr... Precin, Falck, Sanders. Scoring 19 pts vs Sanders? Incredible. McDonough chose to engage Robles from the get go, and that was how he got in a hole quickly.

 

I'm disappointed Robles hung it up after ncaa. I would have loved to see him at the OTT's in Iowa City and potentially see how the Russians and the world would handle this incredible force.

 

As far as this article, preceding the question to Smith of why Robles was not recruited to Okla St with "why, for heaven's sake" sounds strange and very presumptuous. As if it was so obvious a 112#er with one leg would one day be a national champ. I'm sure Smith, Brands, Ortiz or anyone would not knowingly turn down someone with national champion potential. Yet the author almost implies they were idiots for not seeing it. That strikes me as Monday morning quarterbacking and rather insulting.

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I'll never understand the "unfair advantage" argument. If you want to say Robles had certain physical advantages, I'll agree with that, but so does every wrestler. The entire point of wrestling is to find a personal style that maximizes your personal advantages. Robles advantages were far different (and thus harder to prepare for) than the vast majority of wrestlers, but so were his disadvantages. If being one legged and strong was just some automatic game-changer, RObles would have won 4 titles undefeated.

 

He didn't. Like all wrestlers, that style developed over the course of their career. Bravo to him.

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I'll never understand the "unfair advantage" argument. If you want to say Robles had certain physical advantages, I'll agree with that, but so does every wrestler. The entire point of wrestling is to find a personal style that maximizes your personal advantages. Robles advantages were far different (and thus harder to prepare for) than the vast majority of wrestlers, but so were his disadvantages. If being one legged and strong was just some automatic game-changer, RObles would have won 4 titles undefeated.

 

He didn't. Like all wrestlers, that style developed over the course of their career. Bravo to him.

Well said, Vak - couldn't agree more. Here's a kid that was dealt a tough hand in life, but made

himself into a success - largely through his accomplishments in wrestling. Yet some seem to resent

him because he was such a difficult match-up by the time he peaked as a senior. Don't recall many complaints when he went DNP, 4th, and 7th in the years prior to his title though.

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Coaches make evaluation mistakes all the time, although I think that in wrestling we see fewer of them because of the one-on-one direct contact nature of the sport. Yankee centerfielder Brett Gardner was cut instantly by his college coaches. There are lots of other examples too. I agree with the idea that it wasn't so surprising that Iowa and OSU didn't recruit Robles. At least Smith noted that if he had it to do over again with today's hindsight, he would.

 

I think Robles success does give you some insight into the sport. The basic message is that power is extremely important, and if you are stronger than the other fellow, it makes a big difference. You could see in Robles' matches that once he got the wrist even from neutral, the opponent wasn't getting it back.

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I'll never understand the "unfair advantage" argument. If you want to say Robles had certain physical advantages, I'll agree with that, but so does every wrestler. The entire point of wrestling is to find a personal style that maximizes your personal advantages. Robles advantages were far different (and thus harder to prepare for) than the vast majority of wrestlers, but so were his disadvantages. If being one legged and strong was just some automatic game-changer, RObles would have won 4 titles undefeated.

 

He didn't. Like all wrestlers, that style developed over the course of their career. Bravo to him.

 

I agree that he developed a style that maximized his abilities, but you greatly overstate it by saying if it was an advantage, he would have won 4 national titles. There is nothing so absolute, and clearly since he was relatively new to the sport (when compared to most elite level guys), it was an evolving advantage. How many guys take up wrestling in 8th-9th grade, and go on to win a national HS title? How many have been wrestling only since they were teenagers, and still are a multiple time AA, and national champ?

Clearly he had physical advantages that outweighed the handicap, on the mat. Every day he practice with, and competed with, wrestlers with four limbs. How many practice sessions did his opponents have with vs a guy with one leg?

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Mark Schultz wrestled one year of high school. He did wrestle 50-60 matches in freestyle during the spring and summer before his senior year. Of course his brother Dave was probably practicing on him for a few years prior to that.

 

In the upper weights you start wrestling in high school and become a 2-time champ if you are a great athlete. At the lighter weights Robles is the only one i can think of who started that late and was that successful.

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Vak I think your position makes some assumptions. You seem to assume that he is inherently an elite athlete and elite wrestler. So, if he were born an able bodied man, would he have been worthy of being on a D1 roster? Would he have been a national qualifier? Would he have been a dominate force in the sport who won a national title? Of course this is simply academic since we can't posibly know. Your contention is that he had to develop his style slowly over time and learn how to wrestle and cope as a person with one leg. Though, people who are born in such situations rarely see themselves as handicapped since it is all they have known and it is more often a projection of a haddicap on them by able bodied people. He didn't lose a leg, he has only known his body and life as it is now. I think there are more signs that point to the fact that he would not have been an elite wrestle if able bodied.

 

He was a high school national champion in his unique style that no one knew how to counter or wrestle with. He knew his style well and was always prepared for able bodied athletes while they were not prepared for him. I actually think it is more similar to James Fleming. He is a gamer that has a unique style and a move that not many people know how to handle. As a result, I think he has performed much better than his abilities warrent. This is great for those wrestlers that can develop a style that is all unique to them that allows them to excel on the mat--it is what wrestling is about.

 

However, the issue I have had with Robles matches on occasion over the years and it was referenced by BigApple. I have watched as wrestlers have covered his ankle and had him on his hip or butt. All the athlete would have to do to get a takedown is cover the other ankle--which is impossible. There have been many occasions where I felt a takedown should have been awarded but instead Robles was able to work to stalemates by quickly using his upperbody strength to hold on. If the takedown would have been awarded, he would have been called for stalling, if he didn't bail out to escape. )If you recall, he could pivot quickly on the one leg to get reversals).

 

For the record, I did not like seeing bladerunner in the Olympics. It isn't that Robles did or didn't have an advantage but rather that the letter of the rules, I believe, as they were applied to him, inhibited the intent of the rules.

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Whatever arguments advanced referencing any DEFENSIVE advantages possible for a one-legged wrestler, at LEAST equal consideration should be afforded arguments detailing OFFENSIVE DISadvantages. In my estimation, such disadvantages FAR outweigh the advantages thus making Robles' accomplishments on the mats even more impressive.

 

Parenthetically, much of what's being presented about the "unfairness" of Robles' relative strength kinda reminds me of Lesnar's senior year, when (even at B1G finals) his opponents opted to FF rather than risk injury to such an imposing physical specimen. :0)

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For the record, I did not like seeing bladerunner in the Olympics. It isn't that Robles did or didn't have an advantage but rather that the letter of the rules, I believe, as they were applied to him, inhibited the intent of the rules.

 

Agree with you there. Even if you think the advantages of Robles situation outweighed the disadvantages he still was wrestling within the rules using only his physical abilities. The bladerunner guy at the Olympics was using technology to enable him to compete. Robles was just using determination.

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I'll never understand the "unfair advantage" argument. If you want to say Robles had certain physical advantages, I'll agree with that, but so does every wrestler. The entire point of wrestling is to find a personal style that maximizes your personal advantages. Robles advantages were far different (and thus harder to prepare for) than the vast majority of wrestlers, but so were his disadvantages. If being one legged and strong was just some automatic game-changer, RObles would have won 4 titles undefeated.

 

He didn't. Like all wrestlers, that style developed over the course of their career. Bravo to him.

 

Exactly right.

It just so happens that his "disadvantages/advantages" were unusual, so people ignore the disadvantages and focus on the advantages (non-Robles fans, that is).

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I'll never understand the "unfair advantage" argument. If you want to say Robles had certain physical advantages, I'll agree with that, but so does every wrestler. The entire point of wrestling is to find a personal style that maximizes your personal advantages. Robles advantages were far different (and thus harder to prepare for) than the vast majority of wrestlers, but so were his disadvantages. If being one legged and strong was just some automatic game-changer, RObles would have won 4 titles undefeated.

 

He didn't. Like all wrestlers, that style developed over the course of their career. Bravo to him.

 

Exactly right.

It just so happens that his "disadvantages/advantages" were unusual, so people ignore the disadvantages and focus on the advantages (non-Robles fans, that is).

 

That's an unfair and closed minded statement. You can form an objective opinion on this topic, without being a fan or non fan of Robles.

Again, can anyone provide an example of a guy around his weight, that picked up the sport in 8-9th grade, and won a national title a couple of years later, or was a multiple time AA and an undefeated national champ?

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Very true. What if you had no arms, but they gave you prosthetics that had steel hands on the end. How'd you like to box a guy like that?

-----

 

Very true.

 

And how would you like to be a bad guy and have Robocop chasing you?

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I'll never understand the "unfair advantage" argument. If you want to say Robles had certain physical advantages, I'll agree with that, but so does every wrestler. The entire point of wrestling is to find a personal style that maximizes your personal advantages. Robles advantages were far different (and thus harder to prepare for) than the vast majority of wrestlers, but so were his disadvantages. If being one legged and strong was just some automatic game-changer, RObles would have won 4 titles undefeated.

 

He didn't. Like all wrestlers, that style developed over the course of their career. Bravo to him.

 

Exactly right.

It just so happens that his "disadvantages/advantages" were unusual, so people ignore the disadvantages and focus on the advantages (non-Robles fans, that is).

 

That's an unfair and closed minded statement. You can form an objective opinion on this topic, without being a fan or non fan of Robles.

Again, can anyone provide an example of a guy around his weight, that picked up the sport in 8-9th grade, and won a national title a couple of years later, or was a multiple time AA and an undefeated national champ?

Sure, Gray Simons started wrestling in the 8th grade for Billy Martin at Granby. He was a 4x NAIA champ, a 3x NCAA champ (ineligible as a frosh), and a 2x NCAA Most Outstanding Wrestler.

 

Simons usually ranks at least in the top 10 on lists of the greatest collegians. For example, Mike Chapman has him # 6, ahead of others such as Lee Kemp, Pat Smith, Lincoln McIlravy and Rick Sanders.

 

P.S. If you think that the fact that he wrestled over 50 years ago negates this example, I would

suggest that (a) you never saw him wrestle, or (b) you're a hopelessly deranged a meth-head. ;)

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Obe Blanc started wrestling (in Florida) in, I think, 10th grade, and ended up representing the United States at the WOrld Championships. It happens. He didn't dominate like Robles did in college, but that's a pretty big accomplishment. We've already given you Mark Schultz and now Gray Simons.

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I had the privilege of getting to know Anthony Robles the day after the announcement to drop ASU wrestling was made by Lisa Love, the then AD at ASU. I was at a local USA freestyle tournament in the Phoenix area. Unbeknowst to me the mother of one of the kids i was coaching was one of the best friends of a local TV reporter who showed up. This woman saw her friend and asked her who to talk to. I was introduced to her, she wanted a live interview. I said wait here, i found Anthony Robles, borrowed a "Save ASU Wrestling T-Shirt" for him to wear for the interview.

 

Earlier in his high school career i had watched a wrestler from Sunnyside HS (perennial power in AZ) beat Anthony in a freestyle meet beat him. He circled towards the leg Anthony has, then shot across it, driving him onto his far hip with no problem. The reason being Anthony had no leg to post with on the farside.

 

Later in his college career Charlie Falck 125-pound Iowa wrestler got behind by a big margin. In the third period, Falck started doing what the sunnyside wrestler had done. He took him down, turned him multiple times and won narrowly.

 

Later i moved back to Oklahoma, where i got to know Joey Fio the sophomore 125 pounder for OU. I knew that OU would wrestle In Tempe. I asked him how he had fared the first time, he said not well. I told him what i had seen done twice to Anthony Robles when he lost martches. Joey had a real good outside fireman's carry. I told him if you circle to the leg and can get his far arm you can put him on his back. I wasn't at the match, but i saw Joey won by a fall in the first period. Joey told me it was easy once he knew what to look for.

 

Now Tom Brands coached Charlie Falck, why didn't he study the film of the Robles vs. Falck match? McDonough took the completely wrong approach by staying straight head to head with Anthony.

 

Jack Spates had film of Fio pinning Robles. Apparently he didn't study film either as Jarrod Patterson lost to Anthony. In Jarrod's defense he had Anthony in position to score a takedown if he could grab the other leg. Big problem there was no other leg to grab.

 

Under the current FILA freestyle rules the only way to get on top is to take someone down. Trust me, the Russians would have studied film and figured out how to beat Anthony. So i think he made the right choice.

 

The ASU coach Thom Ortiz didn't want Anthony Robles either. However, a close friend of mine who had been an assistant at ASU a long time ago had coached Bobby Williams, Anthony's high school coach. When he found out Ortiz didn't want Anthony, he made a call and read him the riot act. He said he is a 4.0 gpa, you can't buy the kind of PR he'll give your program, and too boot he's a good wrestler.

 

I remember Lewboo saying to some of us after his freshman year at the NCAAs that he thought Anthony could win a NCAA title. I didn't laugh, because Lewboo is rarely wrong when it comes to wrestling.

Big Apple, while Patterson didn't fare any better than McDonough by the the margin of his loss, he did take Robles down once by pushing down on his head and spinning quickly around. He almost got another one, which I believe may be the one you referenced above. He was also able to repeatedly stand up on Robles, but usually had trouble getting out - although he hit one standing switch for an escape (turned in so quickly that he didn't even have to reach for the leg).

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Obe Blanc started wrestling (in Florida) in, I think, 10th grade, and ended up representing the United States at the WOrld Championships. It happens. He didn't dominate like Robles did in college, but that's a pretty big accomplishment. We've already given you Mark Schultz and now Gray Simons.

 

So that's 3-4 guys in the history of the sport in the US? And how many of them won national HS titles within a couple of years of starting? I'd say you're helping to support my POV, not the opposite.

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Obe Blanc started wrestling (in Florida) in, I think, 10th grade, and ended up representing the United States at the WOrld Championships. It happens. He didn't dominate like Robles did in college, but that's a pretty big accomplishment. We've already given you Mark Schultz and now Gray Simons.

 

So that's 3-4 guys in the history of the sport in the US? And how many of them won national HS titles within a couple of years of starting? I'd say you're helping to support my POV, not the opposite.

 

Obe Blanc won Senior Nationals in high school, just 3 years after he started. I believe he beat Dave Tomasette of New Jersey. Also, he did it as a 112 lber, just like Robles.

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Agree with points made by njwc and pinnum.

 

Regarding "Bladerunner" prostheses in sprinters, I agree they shouldn't be allowed in the regular Olympics. One can easily imagine with advances in technology (think America's Cup for boats), it would be an advantage to have a prosthetic for sprinting speed. The IOC will have to address this if they haven't already. Somewhat analogous to the high tech swimsuits that were allowed in one Olympics and most of the swimming records got broken, some shattered. Then they were banned.

 

With Robles, let me say, I'm not an anti-Robles guy. I greatly admire what he's been able to do and would be proud if he were my kid. He is an inspiration and a class act. And he won his championship via hard work and entirely within the rules.

 

But I don't think it's heresy to point out his upper body strength was off the charts for his weight class, and for a unique reason. He had the upper body of a 149 or 157#er. To equate that difference to Brock Lesnar being stronger than some other Hwt is a fallacious argument. There is a spectrum of strength and quickness across all weight classes, but Robles situation at 125# goes beyond that.

 

Of course, strength alone won't win a championship, and Robles put in lots of work. But once he learned to take full advantage of his strength, he was unstoppable. If he was able to grab the opponent's wrist, it was pedal to the metal. As others have said, it was difficult to train against such an unusual opponent.

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