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FC Barcelona Scouting 11-Year-Old Soccer Player In Brazil Who Has No Feet
August 28, 2012
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Every so often, a young athlete comes along who is so remarkable that professional sports teams take notice long before they're old enough to turn pro.

Think Wayne Gretzky (378 goals at 10 years old), Tiger Woods (shooting under 80 at age 8) or Nadia Comanici (3 Olympic Golds and a perfect 10 at age 15).

Well now, there's an 11-year-old boy in Brazil named Gabriel Muniz who is an extraordinary soccer player. Ya see, Gabriel has no feet. He was born without them. But his ability is pretty amazing.

So amazing that FC Barcelona - one of the greatest and wealthiest soccer clubs in the world - is scouting him. The team has invited Gabriel to its training academy in Rio de Janeiro and its Spanish camp in September.

Gabriel's story is so inspiring he was profiled on a popular sports programme in Brazil. To see him playing, fast forward the video to 1:30 and 3:15.

The BBC also has a short video of Gabriel showing off his skills.

And with Gabriel in mind, here are some other remarkable athletes who've overcome disabilities.

lauren-woolstencroft.jpgLauren Woolstencroft - Born in Calgary, Woolstencroft has skied since the age of 4. She was born without legs below the knee and without her left arm below the elbow. She's competed in three Paralympic games and won eight gold medals in alpine skiing, including five at the 2010 games in Vancouver.

jim-abbott.jpgJim Abbott - Abbott was born without a right hand, yet he found a way to pitch in the Major Leagues. Abbott would throw with his left hand, and keep his glove tucked in his other arm. After throwing the ball, he'd switch his glove to his left hand, catch the ball, switch the glove again and throw. He won 87 games in his career and even pitched a no hitter!

natalie-du-toit.jpgNatalie Du Toit - Du Toit is a swimmer from South Africa, who competed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Missing most of her left leg, she became the first amputee to qualify for the Olympics. And she did it without a prosthetic leg. Du Toit is also the first person to carry her country's flag at the opening ceremony of both the Olympics and Paralympics.

kyle-maynard.jpgKyle Maynard - As a high school varsity wrestler, Maynard went 50-0 despite missing both of hims arms and both of his legs. Recently, he entered the world of Mixed Martial Arts. He lost his first fight... by decision!

oscar-pistorius.jpgOscar Pistorius - Despite missing both of his legs, Pistorius has become a world class sprinter and competed in the Olympics in London this past summer - the first double leg amputee to do that. He ran for South Africa in the men's 400m and the 4X400 relay. He is known as "the fastest man on no legs."

rocky-bleier.jpgRocky Bleier - After being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bleier served in Vietnam. His right foot and leg were severely injured by a grenade, and doctors told him he'd never play football again. He spent two years working his way back on to the field and went on to win four Super Bowls.

marla-runyan.jpgMarla Runyan - Runyan is the first legally blind runner to compete in the Olympics, representing the U.S. in the final of the 1500m at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney. In 2004, she returned to the Olympics, this time in the 5000m. She's also a three-time U.S. champion in the women's 5000m and has won five gold medals at the Paralympics.

leland-brissie.jpgLou Brissie - While serving in the Second World War, Brissie was hit by artillery fire that shattered his shin bone and broke his foot and ankle. Doctors wanted to amputate his leg but Brissie said no. He had 23 operations over two years, and eventually made it to the Major Leagues where he pitched with a leg brace. He won 44 games and played in the 1949 All-Star game.

tom-dempsey.jpgTom Dempsey - Born without toes on his right foot, Dempsey became an NFL kicker. He modified his style to kick the ball straight on instead of "soccer style" like most kickers. Dempsey also wore a modified shoe with a flattened and enlarged toe surface. In 1970, he kicked the longest field in NFL history - 63 yards to win a game with two seconds left on the clock.

gregory-iron.jpgGregory Iron (aka Greg Smith) - In a business that typically employs huge guys, Gregory Iron is definitely an anamoly. Iron is a professional wrestler, all 5'4 of him. He also has cerebral palsy. But that hasn't stopped him from trying to make the big time. He's already received one big endorsement from WWE champion CM Punk, who told Iron "You overcome more than I ever have just waking up every morning."

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