Kyle Maynard arrived Thursday afternoon in Augusta a little later than he expected.
As a quadruple amputee, Maynard has no problems driving a car. Dealing with traffic? That’s another issue.
“Like anything else it’s a sacrifice,” the Suwanee, Ga., resident said. “It’s not as terrible living in the ’burbs as it is living downtown.”
Maynard served as the keynote speaker for the 21st annual Greater Augusta Medals for Excellence in Sports banquet at Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center.
Maynard talked about overcoming challenges. Born in 1986 with congenital amputation, a condition which prevented his arms from growing past his elbows and legs past his knees, he hasn’t let his disability slow him. He’s quick to extend his right arm to shake hands with everyone he meets – he joked 99 percent of the time the other person has no issues shaking hands, the other one percent isn’t sure what to do and will try to do something like fist-bump him.
Maynard owns a gym called “No Excuses CrossFit,” part of the title stems from his 2005 best-selling book, No Excuses: The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and Life. He’s living his theme – he puts on his clothes in a minute, he feeds himself and he gets around his three-story townhouse with just one minor adjustment, a stool to help him reach his bathroom sink.
And yes, he drives his own vehicle, a Dodge Durango, with extensions to reach the pedals. He moves the seat closer to grab the wheel. He uses a rope to close the trunk.
“Early on, my parents, my dad in particular, they knew if I became dependent on any device it would be just that, I’d be dependent on a device,” Maynard said. “A lot of things I learned how to do without help.”
The independent soul has been busy with his various endeavors. The past eight years, Maynard’s traveled around the country giving about 150 inspirational speeches a year.
When he’s not speaking, he’s challenging himself physically. He began wrestling at age 11. As a high school senior, he won 36 wrestling matches. In 2009, he lifted 420 pounds and fought in a mixed martial arts bout. Maynard arguably saved his best accomplishment for this year.
In February, he taped bike tires and bath towels around his limbs – he eventually used high-tech, carbon-fiber soles for his feet – and crawled to the peak of the 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro. He became the first quadruple amputee to climb the mountain with no assistance in 10 days, five days ahead of the projection.
“It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Maynard, who traveled with a party of nine that included two Wounded Warriors. “I wanted to bring awareness to a really unfortunate statistic that 18 veterans every day commit suicide. I just wanted to show them that regardless of circumstance, you can still live the life you want.”