Zion Clark thrives on Resilience

by spicyray

Situations happen in life and there are three types of people who stand out when faced with adversity: Those who do nothing, those who become destructive. And those such as Zion Clark who thrives on resilience. Clark lives his life with a ‘No excuse,’ mindset.

Life is going to be challenging, it’s going to try to break you, it’s going to try to make you fold,” he told BP monthly  “But that’s what makes us human — all of our trials, all of our hardships that we go through. And what’s special about us (as humans) is that we’re able to overcome and bounce back even stronger.”

Early hardship

Zion Clark thrives on Resilience And Determination

For 23-year-old Clark, his mother likely heard of the consequences of drug use while pregnant.   Regardless, she showed little concern about the risk to the baby ( Clark).  Indeed, that’s what happened with her careless drug use.  This resulted in Clark being born with a condition called caudal regression syndrome (without legs)  It’s believed those who suffer from this condition are 1 out of 2 for every 100,000 people. Clark’s mother abandoned him shortly after giving birth.

Clark was born in Columbus, Ohio, placed in foster homes where he remained until he aged out at 17.  However, during his stays in foster care, he said nine foster parents rejected him, not to mention he suffered abuse.   “I had to deal with trying to survive on my own and just make it through life because a lot of these families were just there for a check,” Clark told Insider. “I was the kid that they got for the wrong reason.”

Foster parent who seen potential

Clark was adopted by Kimberlli Hawkins at the age of 17. 
Zion Clark

Unlike other foster parents where Clark was placed, Kimberlli Hawkins took him into her home. She recognized Clark was something special, not because of his unique disability, but rather because of Clark’s warm personality alongside other beautiful traits, such as the mother-son solid bond.

At the time, Hawkins was the mother of two biological girls and she adopted a girl who was also in the child welfare system. So, to make Clark feel at home, she adopted him in 2015, at age 17.  Afterward, Clark changed his original birth last name of Daniels to Clark.

“They made it seem like I was the absolute worst kid on the planet [Clark making reference to his former foster parents], but my mom [Hawkins] didn’t believe them,” Clark added during an interview with the Insider.

Thrives on Resilience

Zion Clark thrives on Resilience And Determination
Zion Clark got into wrestling at a young age. 
Zion Clark

As Clark thrived at home, his mother urged him to look beyond his disability and pursue his goal of obtaining a high school diploma and a college degree for which  Clark graduated from Massillon Washington High School before earning his college degree in Business Management from Kent State University at Tuscarawas.   But all along, Clark had a passion for wrestling that started before age 5.

Failed in life and discovered a new career in the process

Zion Clark thrives on Resilience And Determination
Zion Clark hopes to become a professional wrestler. 
Zion Clark

 By the time he left high school, he was wrestling competitively.  His record was 33-15.  However, the more he advanced, the stiffer the competition became, leading to disappointment and a decline in his success rate.

After sitting in limbo, Clark was approached by a Paralympics official, who encouraged him to try wheelchair racing.  Clark figured he had little to lose so the question was, Why Not?

He told the Times, “I don’t believe in excuses–there is no excuse to do anything good or bad. I believe we do what we want to do, and instead of making excuses for it, I focus on correcting the bad decisions and building upon the good ones.”  Clark, who is 3 ft 2 inches, weighing only 39 pounds, focused his energy on the wheelchair competition, where he qualified for the Paralympic Nationals at UCLA in California, where he competed using a specially designed wheelchair.

His training is a story of resilience and determination

Zion Clark does a lot of strength training to compliment his wrestling. 
Zion Clark

Clark’s training was grueling.  He focused on one banded dumbbell presses, medicine ball slams, dips, and pull-ups, all routines that would improve skills as a competitor. Something known as box jumps played a vital role in his success.  Basically, box jumps involved moving laterally and vertically around cones to boost cardio and speed with an athlete’s hands.

Guinness World Record

In 2016, Zion won the 100 meters and 400 meters fastest runner title in Ohio, walking on hands in 4.78 seconds in 20m. He raced for the 800 meters wheelchair, where he took third place. 

Fame doesn’t mean sympathy

Clark authored a book entitled ‘Zion Unmatched,’ and gained the attention of power-house Netflix, in which the network featured Clark in an award-winning documentary about his life. The documentary won awards at Sundance Film Festival.  Clark was also a co-partner with Real Deal’s promotional company, whose primary goal is a health supplement. 

Throughout all his success, Clark’s message is clear, “I just want them to quit feeling that pity for me,” he said to Indeonline.  “I can’t stand that. I don’t know why, but it just makes something start churning in the back of my head. I would think that they would know that I’m obviously moving around, probably more than the people around me. I don’t know why they’re like, ‘Oh, I feel sorry for you.’ Don’t.”

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