1The wrestler with only one leg who became a national champion
2The football player with no legs who also became homecoming king
He campaigned hard for king. He placed ''Bobby Martin 4 Homecoming King" signs all over the school and gave a passionate speech at a rally that ended with him doing rapid-fire pushups that were more like handstands. At least one of his opponents apologized for running against him and even promised to vote for him. (Source)
3The little girl who had to use a basketball as her prosthetic body
Qian now has a pair of proper prosthetic legs, but still says she likes to use the basketball from time to time as it is easier for her to get in and out of the pool. (Source)
4The man with no legs who ran the New York City Marathon
Benson's connection with the road began as a simple workout in 2004. He is the only marathoner in the country to use a skateboard in the 26.2-mile event. For a man who, even as a child, refused to sit in a wheel chair and who, as a toddler, learned to walk in prostheses, it made sense. (Source)
5The dancer with no legs who became India's Got Talent Star
Born without legs, he quickly learnt how to walk on his hands at home in East Delhi. The TV show – part of Simon Cowell's global empire – carries a top prize of £68,000, a far cry from the £85 a month he earns repairing mobile phones. What's more, the economics student only started dancing five months prior to that – teaching himself by copying videos downloaded in his local internet cafe.
6The woman who raises 130 Children
7The man who became a skateboarder
8The photographer who takes pictures of people who stare at him
Born without legs, Connolly was already used to the stares of strangers -- but that moment would help him start to understand that the lens could work in both directions.
On a solo trip to Europe, more than a decade later, he felt a man staring at him. Connolly lifted his camera to his hip, shot pictures of that man. Connolly would repeat that action 32,000 more times during his travels, creating a diverse portfolio of individuals from a broad assortment of countries. He posted some of these images online, under the title "The Rolling Exhibition."
While gratifying artistically, it's also an unsettling position for the 22-year-old Montana State photography student. Connolly has spent most of his life shrugging off the perhaps well-intentioned, but ultimately dismissive, stereotypical role of the "inspiring" physically-challenged individual. A prosthetics manufacturer created a custom body shoe for him that looks like a leather bowl covered on the outside with a rubber tread for traction. Connolly uses the device to protect and cushion his torso during most of his activities.
But Connolly learned something else during his photographic odyssey. Many of the people he met, did not wait for him to explain the reason for the absence of his legs. Instead, they automatically supplied their own narrative, suited to their own environment or personal sensibilities. For example, while traveling in New Zealand a woman asked Connolly if he was the victim of a shark attack. In Romania some people thought he was a beggar; at a bar in Montana a man bought him a beer and thanked him for his service, believing Connolly was a wounded veteran of the Iraq War.
9The man who climbed the Great Wall of China
The accident totally changed Huang's life. Without legs, his wife deserted him when he lost his livelihood, but the man from China's Sichuan province remained determined to live a normal life. He began practicing calligraphy and became a traveling street artist, roving through more than 20 Chinese cities in ten years.
"I hope when these tourists see me, a half man, climbing the Great Wall and enjoying being a real man, they will think about themselves."
10The man who became an acrobat
Despite his physical configuration, or perhaps because of it, Eli strived to live an extraordinary life. He wanted to be an acrobat. Eli learned early to use his arms and hands to compensate for his lack of legs. Eli would hold thick, wooden blocks in his palms and use them as ‘shoes', elevating his torso in order to walk on his hands. As a result of that process as well as steady farm labour Bowen developed enormous strength and even in adulthood he was able to navigate his 140 pound frame anywhere he chose. He started his professional career at the age of 13 in various wagon shows before eventually touring independently, performing in dime museums and finally touring Europe with Barnum and Bailey Circus. He garnered a reputation for being a magnificent and effortless tumbler and acrobat and for his phenomenal feats of strength.
Billed as ‘The Legless Acrobat' Eli Bowen was known for his remarkable tumbling abilities but was applauded internationally for his extraordinary routine known simply as ‘the pole routine'. While Eli stood only twenty-four inches in height he had no reservations about climbing a thirteen foot pole in order to balance on a single hand at its peak. Gripping the pole Eli would stretch his torso straight, parallel to the ground, and spin around the pole. Eli would then hold himself parallel to the pole using only his right arm. The routine not only displayed Bowen's strength, but was also unusually graceful. Soon, Eli Bowen was commanding a salary of over $100 a week. As he grew into adulthood, Eli Bowen also became well known for his handsome looks and, at one point, he was considered by many to be the most handsome man in show business. (Source)