Thad Olmstead gives 100 percent when he's on the wrestling mat. He loves to compete.
"Just the joy of winning and losing," said Thad Olmstead.
The Hoover Middle School eighth grader lost his legs when he was just 11 months old.
Thad had bacterial meningitis and his legs were amputated to save his life. He's never let what happened hold him back.
"I don't want nobody to treat me different, and they don't treat me different," he said.
One person who doesn't treat Thad differently is Hoover Middle School Wrestling Coach Kevin Kemp. The two actually have a running joke.
"Every meet I ask him what color he painted his toenails," said Kevin Kemp.
Kemp said it's been a pleasure and a privilege to coach Thad in 7th and 8th grade.
"He is something else. He is full of personality and enthusiasm and just consistently wants to get better and works hard to get there and he's a leader of the team," said Kemp.
Thad said this season he's really focused on wrestling hard the entire match. It attitude hasn't gone unnoticed by his coach.
"His tenacity. He just refuses to give up. He's willing to learn everything that you ask of him. He'll do anything you ask of him, and he supports his teammates," said Kevin Kemp.
Not having legs gives Thad some advantages and some disadvantages on the wrestling mat. Wrestlers often take a shot at the legs to get a takedown, Thad's shorter stature gives him an advantage. He has a disadvantage on his back when wrestlers often use their legs to bridge in an effort to keep from getting pinned. But with Thad, there are no excuses.
"People just tell me I can't do it, and I want to prove them wrong," he said.
Thad's advice to anyone else with a disability, don't let it hold you back in life.
Thad never wrestled before 7th grade, but he enjoys it so much he hopes to continue wrestling in high school.
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