Pic courtesy of The Pine Journal.
There’s something special going on in the snowy north country of Cloquet, Minnesota. A 16-year-old wrestler is suiting up and rocking his competition. The catch? Jordan Baker was born with one leg and just five fully-developed fingers. This hasn’t prevented him from mixing it up with able-bodied opponents since his kindergarten days.
Like national NCAA wrestling champion and fellow amputee Anthony Robles, Baker has compensated for his missing leg by developing immense upper body strength. He is also one of his team’s fastest wrestlers. “Doing walls, sprints, runs, whatever, he’s definitely always in the top five,” a teammate told The Pine Journal. “It’s crazy. He’s such a hard worker.” It also sounds as though he’s something of a joker:
In addition to his hard work ethic, [wrestling coach Al] Denman said Baker is quite the comedian as well, laughing when describing his always-positive attitude towards life.
“If there is laughter on the bus, Jordan is usually my first suspect,” Denman said. “He’s always in the middle of it. He’s a very fun kid.”
“You never get any sleep on the bus,” added [teammate] Nelson with a chuckle.
The success of young amputee wrestlers is one of the most exciting disability sports trends of 2011. Here’s to hoping athletes like Baker and Robles keep it rolling into 2012!