Man, 22, who was born with no legs reveals how he defied his bullies by becoming a professional freestyle wrestler – and is now setting his sights on Olympic glory
- Zion Clark, 22, from Ohio, wants to be the best freestyle wrestler in the world
- Was born without legs due to Caudal Regression Syndrome, put in foster care
- Thanks to the support of his loving foster mum Kimberlii, he got into wrestling
- Now trains twice a day six days a week and said having no legs did not stop him
A man who was born without legs due to a genetic disorder revealed how the support of his foster family allowed him to entre the world of pro wrestling.
Zion Clark, 22, from Ohio, was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a serious disorder which impairs the development of the lower spine.
He explained he grew up in foster care and was often mocked by bullies for having no legs. But his foster mother Kimberlii, who eventually adopted him, was always by his side to cheer him on.
Thanks to Kimberlii’s dedicated support for his love of athleticism, Zion is now close to becoming of the world’s most successful pro freestyle wrestlers.
Zion Clark, 22, from Ohio was born without legs and wound up in foster care. But this did not stop him from reaching his goal of becoming a top freestyle wrestler
Zion said: ‘I started wrestling in second grade.
‘When I was really little, the first few matches, I didn’t know what to do and neither did my opponent.
‘Some kids were scared to wrestle me – I was scared to wrestle them. I didn’t know what I was doing.
‘I adapted my wrestling by a lot of trial and error. Spent years figuring out what would work.
‘I now train twice a day, about six days a week. It’s a grind, it’s a lifestyle.
‘Being born without legs hasn’t stopped me from doing the things I want to do.’
Being born without leg did not stop Zion from training and wrestling as he’s had to experiment with his wrestling style to find the right technique for him
The athlete said he was deeply thankful for his now mother Kimberlii, who took him in as a foster child, raised him like her own and eventually adopted him
What is caudal regression syndrome?
Caudal regression syndrome is a condition which affects the development of the lower half of the body.
It can affect the lower back and limbs, the gastrointestinal tract system and the urinary tract system
This impairment can lead to serious health issues in some people, which include breathing issues, urinary issue and scoliosis.
The cause vary depending on the person, but can often stem from both genetic disorders and environmental factors.
The condition is rare and affect a fifth of every 100,000 births.
It can be managed with therapy catering to the specific impairments experienced by the patient.
Source: Genetic Home Reference
Zion’s earlier years in school were tough as he endured bullying for his condition and would often respond with anger.
‘People would make fun of me because I didn’t have legs,’ he said.
‘The best way to deal with haters is to use the hate to lift yourself up.
‘The haters are your biggest fans – use that to your advantage.
‘School wasn’t the greatest time for me, but by the time I was a senior I was able to turn it around and get into college and do everything I wanted to do.’
And a big reason why Zion was able to turn his life around was down to his positive outlook and the relationship he has with his mother, Kimberlli.
Zion said he used to be mocked for having no legs, but has now proudly flipped the script on his bullies by winning wrestling matches like this one
A machine. Zion trains twice a day, six days a week, and said wrestling was a lifestyle that came with an intense grind
Zion said he had learned that things wouldn’t always go his way but to make the best of what life could offer him
Zion added: ‘The relationship with my mom is fantastic. She’s the greatest woman I know.’
For Zion, his future now holds endless possibilities and he will never stop aiming high.
He said: ‘My dreams and ambitions? One day, to make the Olympic team and be one of the best freestyle wrestlers in the world.
‘The biggest lesson I’ve had to learn is that things won’t always go your way.
‘You have to work with what you’ve got.
‘Once you’re able to work with what you have, multiple doors just start to open.’