Learn the name Robbie Gronthorpe. The 11 year-old multi-sport phenom may go down alongside such names as Bo Jackson, Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Jim Thorpe as one of the greatest multi-sport athletes of all-time.
Despite only being in sixth grade, Gronthorpe has already achieved greatness in the sports of spelling and mathletics, dominating local, state and regional competitions in both. Perhaps most remarkable of all is the fact that Gronthorpe doesn't look like the typical athletic superstar. He is small for his age, wears glasses and has asthma and severe allergies. Also, unlike the typical jock, he is not all that popular among his school peers.
"I've never had the pleasure of coaching an athlete with Robbie's abilities before," said Mary Pondley, Gronthorpe's spelling coach. "He can do anything he wants to do in sports if he applies himself. That's probably his one flaw. It comes so easy to him, he doesn't always apply himself, which I think is why he struggles to pass gym."
Robbie isn't about to rest on his laurels, however. He plans to try out for the school debate team in the fall. He also has interests outside of sports, such as the school science fair.
"Science fair isn't a sport because they don't show it on ESPN and it doesn't have 'lete' in it and there is no science fair team," said Gronthorpe. "But I think it's good to not always be playing sports."
Although he isn't even halfway through middle school yet, Gronthorpe receives college recruiting letters almost daily.
"I got letters from Alabama and LSU in the fourth grade," he said. "They had several misspellings. I think it was a test."