Rohan Murphy has been defying the odds ever since losing his legs, at age 4, due to a birth defect. While a disability like Murphy’s would be hard to overcome for most, the 28-year-old New York resident has found a way to achieve amazing athletic feats and now has his eyes on Paralympic gold.
In a report from the New York Daily News, Murphy spoke about how his physical education teacher urged him to take up wrestling in the eighth grade. After a successful high school and collegiate wrestling career, Murphy began focusing on the sport of powerlifting. A quick look at Murphy’s massive arms and overall impressive physique reveal that he’s put in the work at the gym. Murphy, however, seems to draw more strength from speaking to children and challenging them to succeed no matter what barriers they face.
“Most schools don’t even have someone in a wheelchair,” said Murphy, a graduate of Penn State. “It’s good for them to see someone with a disability. Now when they see someone in Wal-Mart in a wheelchair, they don’t look down on them. They don’t take their own lives for granted.”
Although the 2012 Paralympics are underway in London now, Murphy missed trials due to his speaking engagements. He intends to make his way to Rio in 2016 and hopes to take the top prize in powerlifting.
“A lot of people think I’m a gym rat. They say I spend too much time in the gym,” Murphy said. “But I think that’s just something I really have to do to succeed in powerlifting. I’m looking forward to 2016.”