Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Kyle, here’s what you should know about Kyle…
In his senior year of high school, Kyle Maynard became one of the top 12 wrestlers in the country for his weight class, won 36 varsity wrestling matches, beat several state champions, and had over 120 takedowns on the mat. And, oh yeah. . . he has two arms that end at the elbow and legs that end at the knees.
Born with congenital amputation of the forearms and lower legs, Kyle was raised in a family that refused to treat him any differently. Encouraged to be “normal,” his parents groomed a life for him that included all the benefits offered other children, including athletics. By 6th grade, Kyle was playing football. By high school, he had added wrestling to the mix.
“The cool thing was, my parents kind of looked at me and treated me the way that I learned to treat myself, which is without a disability at all,” he says. “Their biggest point in raising me is they wanted to make me independent and that’s really all anyone can ask for.”
That isn’t to say that success came easily. He lost his first 35 wrestling matches. But he kept a goal of never getting pinned and by his senior year, he’d hit his stride. It’s this type of perseverance that has guided him every step of the way.
“You can buy into the fear, you can buy into the ‘whoa is me, this is all there is to life,’ and frankly, you’ll be in with the majority. [But] I don’t want to be there. I want to be in the group that says ‘I’m going to write my own reality, regardless of what I’m up against.’”
Today, Kyle is much more than the wrestler who made his mark without fully-developed limbs. He’s a MMA fighter, a motivational speaker, an author, an owner of a CrossFit gym in Georgia, and he’s his own man. In refusing to make excuses, Kyle is getting in all that he can, each and every day.
“There’s more that we can get out of this life,” he says. “There’s more that we can get out of all of our goals, whether it’s running a marathon, whether it’s running a business, [or] whether it’s just waking up in the morning and believing [that] what we can do is possible.”
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