Kyle Maynard is a motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur and athlete. Despite being born with arms that end at the elbows and legs near the knees, Kyle’s wrestled for one of the best teams in the Southeast, set records in weightlifting, fought in mixed martial arts, and most recently became the first man to crawl on his own to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
Kyle was born with a condition known as congenital amputation. His parents, Scott and Anita, had no idea their firstborn son would be born with a disability, but they made a critical decision early on to drive him to be as independent as possible — beginning what Kyle calls his “pursuit of normalcy.” And consequently, with basically two elbows he can type up to fifty words per minute on a normal keyboard, eat and write without any adaptations, drive a vehicle that has little modification, and live on his own in a three-story townhouse in Atlanta, GA.
Kyle’s athletic journey began as an 11-year-old that wanted to wrestle and a coach that gave him an opportunity to try. After losing every single match his first year and most his second, Maynard, with his iron will and parents who wouldn’t let him give up on himself, found a way to win 36 varsity matches his senior year; defeating several state place finishers and state champions during his final season. Maynard also began weight training at the same age, and after a very modest start, he attained the title “GNC’s World’s Strongest Teen” by bench pressing 23 repetitions of 240 lbs. In February of 2009, with leather straps and chains attached to his arms, he successfully lifted 420 lbs.
But Maynard’s accomplishments extend far beyond the wrestling mat or weight room. He is the 2004 ESPY Award winner (Best Athlete with a Disability), and a year later was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was elected by the U.S. Jaycees as one of the Top Ten Outstanding Young Americans. In 2008, Maynard received the Highest Recognition Award of the Secretary of Health and Human Services for his efforts as a life role model, motivational speaker and humanitarian.
Maynard is also certified as a CrossFit instructor and in 2008 he saw one of his most fervent dreams become a reality when he built and opened his first fitness center, No Excuses CrossFit.
In April of 2009, Kyle became the first quadruple amputee to step into the cage and compete as an amateur mixed martial arts fighter. Kyle’s focus is on grappling and ground fighting — he’s currently in his 7th year studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and now training with Renzo Gracie blackbelt Paul Creighton.
For the past seven years Maynard has traveled to five continents speaking for corporate meetings, grade schools, universities, and programs supporting injured American veterans. He’s shared the stage with the world’s greatest minds in business, politics, sports, and motivation. Whether he’s in front of a middle school classroom or thousands in a convention hall, Kyle says his life’s deepest passion is helping each audience on their path towards reaching their highest human potential.
In his most recent conquest, Kyle became the first man to ever hike on all fours to reach the roof of Africa — bearcrawling to the 19,340 ft. summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Joining Kyle were two inspiring veterans, former Marine officer Chris Hadsall and Army staff sergeant Sandra Ambotaite, who battled through incredible adversity of their own to reach the peak. The purpose of their quest — to send a message to the veteran community and kids with disabilities around the world that no obstacle is too great to be overcome.
His story has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, ESPN’s Sportscenter, HBO’s Real Sports, ABC’s 20/20 and Good Morning America, and as a cover story in USA Today. He continues to inspire as the author of his book, No Excuses (2005), a New York Times bestseller.
Stay up-to-date on new opportunities & community stories.