Amputee Wrestler Has All the Right Moves

As fans, Maynard's parents watched his matches with extraordinary intensity -- displaying a gamut of emotions: frustration if they thought his opponents were stalling; exhilaration if he made a good move; pride, regardless of the outcome.

Maynard and his father -- a former wrestler -- worked out an extensive weight-training program for him. To this day, because of the strength he built, he has never been pinned. Ramos helped his star wrestler invent his own unique moves, including one called the rope-a-dope.

Ramos became a mentor to Maynard, and Maynard paid him back by learning to win, with 35 victories on the varsity squad in his senior year. He lost 16 matches.

"If you lose, it's all on you," said Maynard. "Wrestling is a brutal sport in that way. But then, you know, the victories are so much sweeter. And, because of that, I learned so much about myself. If you can persevere through that, then anything is truly possible. I believe that deep down in my heart."

"There was times I'd look at him towards the end of his time here," said Ramos. "And I'd have to turn around so my team wouldn't see me with tears in my eyes."

A Life Beyond Wrestling

Maynard travels in a wheelchair. He rejects prosthetic devices -- in part, he says, because without them, as a child, he was able to play so freely with his sister Amber, the oldest of three sisters, and his best friend.

One of Maynard's crowning achievements came when he qualified in his senior year for the Georgia state high school wrestling championships. Competing against the best, he won three of his matches. He was wrestling with a broken nose when he met his final opponent.

His opponent took an early lead. Maynard wasn't able to make a comeback and his loss also ended his high school career -- a story he recounts dramatically in his book.

"It was amazing," said Maynard. "Writing about it was the most passionate experience I had in writing the entire book, because ... it was very, very emotional at the end, with my coach, my family, the fans, my teammates -- everybody that I've grown to love, with me right there at the end."

"People just stopped and applauded," remembered Ramos. "And it went on and on."

Maynard, who now drives back and forth between home and the University of Georgia where he's a student, has a list of ambitions. He'd like to coach. He'd like to work as a broadcast commentator. He's now entering ju jitsu tournaments and is booked professionally for speaking engagements. But he and his parents say their goal has simply been to lead a normal life.

He was asked if there is such a thing as a good definition for the word "normal."

"To me it means just to go about things day to day as if they don't matter, as if the obstacles I face aren't there," said Maynard. "Leading a normal life doesn't mean living a stagnant life. You're going to look ahead and you're going to set your impossible goals that other people would say you can't achieve. And you can go out and do it."

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