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By Abbey Shipp
Kyle Maynard was the first quadruple amputee to climb Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted by prosthetics.
He received an Excellence in Sports Yearly award as a mixed martial arts athlete.
Maynard will bring his lecture, “No Excuses: An Evening With Kyle Maynard,” to campus Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Memorial Hall.
With his lectures, Maynard encourages his listeners to pursue their goals with no excuses.
“Bringing in Maynard is a way to bring exposure to those who are disabled,” said Teran Sundy, director of multicultural affairs for SAB and a marketing senior.
“He is one of those people who, although he’s disabled, he’s accomplished a lot — a lot more than even some able-bodied people. It’s an uplifting message to students who feel like they might not be able to accomplish as much as they want to.”
Sundy said the multicultural affairs committee organized Maynard’s lecture as a way to promote diversity, to inspire people and to show how the underdog will achieve in the end.
“He’s a living example of the idea that anyone can succeed and anyone can fulfill their dreams,” said Amy Baker, vice president of internal affairs for SAB and a secondary education senior. “I feel like it’s a relatable message for anyone because we all have obstacles we have to overcome.”
Maynard pursued sports from an early age despite being born with congenital amputation, leaving him with arms and legs that end at the elbow and knee, according to Maynard’s website. He excelled in wrestling, going on to win GNC’s “World’s Strongest Teen” award, two ESPY awards for “Best Athlete with a Disability” and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Maynard began college at the University of Georgia but left to promote his autobiography “No Excuses: The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and in Life,” a New York Times bestseller in 2005.
He opened his own Crossfit gym in 2008 and became the first quadruple amputee to compete as an amateur MMA fighter in 2009, according to Kyle-maynard.com.
“It’s going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear (Maynard) talk and to hear his struggle,” said Melissa Simon, SAB cultural arts committee chair and an arts administration and art history senior. “It’s going to be a really well done event.”
Maynard will lecture and show clips from his documentary featured on ESPN, Sundy said. The event is free to the public.
Sundy said Maynard’s lecture comes at a perfect time to inspire students who are stressed about all of the schoolwork introduced at the end of the semester.
“We can sit here and complain and feel like the world’s against us,” Sundy said. “But (Maynard’s story) can be a spark of influence that says, ‘You can do it. Look what I did.’”