John Edmonds Kozma's Unimpressed Podcast
Zion Clark is an American wrestler, professional mixed martial artist, & wheelchair racer #91
Zion Clark was born September 29th 1997 in Columbus, Ohio. with a rare birth defect called Caudal Regression Syndrome which caused him to be born without legs. Given up for adoption at birth with a mother not fit to take care of him and no father, Zion had to fend for himself from a young age. His childhood was a recipe for disaster, bouncing around between the foster care system and being labelled a problem child caused the system to give up on him early. Zion didn’t let his stop him from learning new skills, he picked up wrestling and music as at a young age which became his outlet from an abusive living situation. Through resiliency and consistently Zion continued to figure out his way of approaching some of these passions and earned his position as an All-American wrestler, and lead drummer of his church. He continues to defy all odds with his optimistic approach and no excuses mentality he embodies.
Zion was introduced to the sport of wrestling while in elementary school, but initially didn't fare very well...in fact, he didn't win a match for several years. Upon entering Massillon High School, Zion met Coach Gil Donahue who recognized his passion for the sport and relentless work ethic. A wonderful friendship and bond was forged.
Over the next 3 years Zion improved his wrestling technique and hit the weight room like a man possessed. An amazing transformation followed!
In his senior year, Zion finished the season 33-15 and was one match from qualifying for the D-I Ohio High School State Wrestling Championships. In an incredible display of heart and determination, Zion wrestled his opponent (a 20 pd. weight differential) beyond the grueling 6 minutes of regulation and 2 overtimes...only to fall 1-0 in sudden death.
The fans in the packed gymnasium rose to their feet and zealously applauded Zion's courageous effort. A few months later Zion went on to capture his second high school track wheelchair racing title at the state championships.
Zion was recruited by several colleges to wrestle and chose to attend Kent State (Tuscarawas)...where he spent the following 2 years steadily improving his skills and finding success at the varsity level.
With his confidence and national ranking on the rise, Zion decided to embark on his toughest mission to date...becoming the first American Athlete to compete in both the Olympic (wrestling) and Paralympic (wheelchair racing) Games in Tokyo (2020).
Understanding the magnitude of this difficult challenge, Zion has surrounded himself with a very dedicated and highly supportive team...including budding friendships with Olympic/World Champion Jordan Burroughs and undefeated (133-0) 4x NCAA titleist Joey Davis.
Due to his tremendous upper body strength and athleticism, Zion is also pursuing interests in power lifting (bench press), wheelchair bodybuilding, and the circus arts.
Zion's herculean efforts hadn't gone unnoticed as a Hollywood producer documented his journey during senior year. The film "Zion" garnered critical acclaim at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival (2018) and global media exposure (it's currently available on Netflix).
In addition to his brutal training/practice regimen, Zion stays busy as a motivational speaker.