In our opinion, a true Natural Champion is measured not in trophies or records or championships, but in terms of spirit and heart. By this measurement, or almost any other standard we can think of, Kyle Maynard is a true Natural Champion. We are pleased to present his story. Parts of the following text were excerpted from his website www.kmaynard.com.
Kyle Maynard was born March 24, 1986 with a rare disorder called “Congenital Amputation”, which left him with only three joints: a neck and two shoulders (he has no knees or elbows). Kyle is just over three feet in height and currently weighs about 120 pounds. His physical differences notwithstanding, Kyle was one of the top high school wrestlers in Georgia (he attended Collins Hill High School in Suwanee) during his senior season. He qualified for and competed in the 2004 Georgia High School Wrestling Championships and narrowly missed attaining All-American status at the NHSCA Senior National Wrestling Championships.
Kyle has participated in several sports including swimming, baseball, football, wrestling and street hockey – all without the aid of prosthetics. His wrestling style is unique – it involves using his head as a battering ram and his limbs like clubs – and, as his opponents will attest, effective. He and his high school coach, Cliff Ramos, developed new wrestling moves like the “buzz saw” and the “jawbreaker” to take advantage of Kyle’s low center of gravity and exceptional strength.
As impressive as his sports accomplishments are, it’s Kyle’s attitude that makes him a truly unique person. Kyle does not think in terms of limitations but rather in terms of accomplishments. One of his favorite sayings is “It’s not what I CAN do – it’s what I WILL do.” The attitude with which Kyle approaches life is the result of a combination of factors: numerous failures, determination and perseverance to overcome his limitations, and the loving but strict care of his parents.
Beginning when Kyle was an infant, his father stressed self-reliance, telling his wife, “If he does not figure out how to eat on his own, he’s going to starve.” Sure enough, Kyle figured out how to eat on his own and now can easily manage with standard tableware. He also has impeccable handwriting and can type fifty words a minute!
“I don’t really look at myself (as disabled),” says Maynard. “It sounds strange, but that’s the way I’ve been raised.” In addition to Kyle, Scott and Anita Maynard have three daughters: Amber, Lindsay and MacKenzie, and, as noted above, Kyle was brought up without being afforded special privileges because of his physical differences.
There is no doubt that Kyle is a special person, but he is quick to give credit to his family and friends for his accomplishments (which in and of itself makes him even more special).
The story of Kyle Maynard transcends the sport of wrestling. Indeed, it transcends the entire field of athletics. Kyle Maynard sends a message of hope to those who face seemingly insurmountable odds. What many of us would consider a handicap, Kyle uses as a gift. It is not only Kyle’s attitude toward wrestling that endears him to those he comes in contact with, it is also his passion and zest for life.
Kyle is currently a student at the University of Georgia, but certainly not the typical student. In addition to his studies, his athletic endeavors, and an active social life, he is a professional motivational speaker with the Washington Speakers Bureau, based in Washington, D.C., and has written an autobiographical, motivationally-themed book entitled No Excuses published by Regnery Publishing Company.
If you measure Kyle Maynard with a standard measuring tape he stands about three feet high – but we at Natural Champion think he’s at least ten feet tall!