San Diego

San Diego Man With No Legs Trains to Qualify for Olympics, Paralympics

A San Diego man who is the Guinness World Record holder in the 20-meter walk on two hands and was a college wrestler now has aspirations to qualify for the Olympics

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Zion Clark was born with caudal regression syndrome, which impairs the development of the lower body and results in him having no legs or feet.

"In my case, my birth mother did a whole bunch of drugs, I was born with practically every party drug in my system that you can think of and that in turn is what caused the caudal syndrome to develop," Clark said.

Clark, 24, grew up in the foster care system where he says he was physically abused, underfed and bullied in school.

"People never used to treat me with respect or even as a human," Clark said.

In elementary school, he was introduced to the sport of wrestling which ended up changing his life. He fell in love with the sport, but it didn't come naturally or easily to him at first.

"For 10 years I lost consecutively over and over and over and over the only reason I stayed was that I had friends," Clark said.

His friendships kept him at the gym. He says he worked hard and by his senior year in high school, Clark was one of the best wrestlers in Ohio.

"I don’t care about winning, I care about feeling accomplished, going out there and learning something new and taking something away from every match," he said.

He was recruited to wrestle in college and then went on to become the Guinness World Record holder for the fastest 20-meter walk on two hands. Now, Clark has a new dream: To become the first American to qualify for both the Olympics and the Paralympics in two separate sports: wrestling and wheelchair racing.

"I’m already at the level where I'm running with the best professionals in the world, but that’s not enough. Running with them is cool, but beating them is a whole different story and that’s where I’m trying to get to in the next couple of years," he said.

Clark has been an inspiration to millions around the world and his story has been featured in a Netflix documentary. His advice to others? Live by his motto: "No Excuses".

"I had to just make up my mind to work hard and get stronger and that’s all it is, you have to break that mental block, you have to shatter your own glass ceilings," he said.

Clark has been living and training in San Diego for the past year.

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