Zion Clark is the current fastest man on two hands. The rapid American completed 20 meters in 4.78 seconds smashing the previous record. It’s perhaps no surprise that he beat the record given his muscular torso and arms. What might surprise you is that he has lived all his life without legs and a significant part of his spine.
Clark has beaten incredible odds to become a Guinness World Record holder and is an inspiration to everybody looking to make it in the face of adversity. Zion’s task would have been much harder without a support system that includes his adoptive mom and girlfriend.
Zion’s girlfriend goes by the name bodacious Teitei on Instagram
Zion is not married but is in a serious relationship with his girlfriend, bodacious Teitei. Teitei writes on Instagram that she is a fashion model and content creator from New York.
It appears that the couple started dating on 4th January 2021, as the date lies next to Zion’s Instagram name on Teitei’s Instagram description. Since then, she’s posted plenty of photos of Zion and has announced that Zion has met her family.
She supported Clark as he went for the Guinness World Record for the fastest person on hands. “Everybody was excited, I was excited, my girlfriend was excited… it was just a moment man!” Zion said.
Zion and Tei recently celebrated her 24th birthday. “Had an awesome time celebrating my babygirl’s 24th G day,” Clark captioned a series of photos of the pair.
“This year is almost over and I’m excited to see where it takes us. Love you babe.”
Clark’s biological mother gave him up for adoption after bingeing on drugs while pregnant with him
Zion Clark was born with caudal regression syndrome, which prevented him from developing from the waist during gestation. Clark told Chris Van Vliet that the disease affects one out 200,000 children.
It didn’t help that Clark’s biological mother binged on drugs while pregnant with Clark. He was 3 pounds heavy at birth and was not expected to live past his first day. Clark explained:
“Yeah my birth mother, she was a drug addict and in and out of jail constantly. When I was born, I had pretty much every party drug in my system you can think of. Most kids don’t survive after that first day, especially if the mother is marinating their unborn child in such drugs.”
Clark needed two surgeries on his back just to allow him to sit up straight. His parents put him up for adoption soon after birth. He went through the foster care and adoption system for sixteen years and found families with good intentions but had little knowledge about taking care of him.
One family forced him to wear prosthetics which required him to sit in an uncomfortable brace. The prosthetics’ purpose was to straighten his back, and once they achieved their goal, Clark could stop using them, but his parents insisted they stay on.
“It got to the point where it was a punishment. I was like I am my own person. If something broke on the prosthetics, the nurse would call and I would get punished at home. Over the top punishment for something that could happen to anyone. If I was a parent and had a kid like me, once their body was repaired I would let them make the choice. They don’t need to look like everyone else.”
Clark’s mother, Kimberli Hawkins, adopted him seven months before his 18th birthday. He’d been adopted two times before, and it didn’t work out. Fortunately, he fit in with Hawkins seamlessly. “With my mom doing parenting the way that she did, if she didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be here,” Zion said. “There is no success, no wrestling, no track.”
Zion has never met his biological dad, but he did meet his biological mom. He told Chris Van Vliet that his mom, Melanie, tracked him down, and the meeting didn’t go well.
“I didn’t know what to say,” Clark said. “She was like ‘I missed you. I’ve been looking for you.’ Well yeah I’ve been on ESPN. When she said I’ve been looking for you for years, that rubbed me the wrong way.”
Clark was bullied in school and used that anger to fuel his move into wrestling
Zion experienced bullying as a child due to his stature. The bullying hurt, but instead of feeling depressed, he channeled that anger towards wrestling.
He started wrestling in second grade, but he wasn’t very good at it. He didn’t know how to fight other kids, and the other kids didn’t know how to fight him.
Gradually he refined his techniques and became a force in the ring. “People would make fun of me because I didn’t have legs,” he told The Daily Mail. “The haters are your biggest fans – use that to your advantage.”
He didn’t win in elementary school, but in high school, his efforts paid off. “If I fit talk to all those people wey bully me, beat me up and really disrespected me, you know wetin I go say? I go say thank you. Because e really make me stronger,” Zion told BBC.
Clark looked up to Kyle Maynard, a wrestler who overcame arm amputation to scale Mount Kilimanjaro. Kyle authored a book titled No Excuses, a phrase tattooed on Zion’s back.
Coach Gilbert Donahue helped refine Zion’s techniques and pushed him beyond his perceived mental boundaries. “We began to exploit his positives and rigorously drilled the techniques he could use with his condition,” Donahue told ESPN. “And that’s how Zion’s wrestling style was born.”
“He pushed me to the point past exhaustion,” Clark said. “And when I had mental breakdowns, he just talked me up, really got me going.”
Zion serves as inspiration for kids everywhere. Per FOX8, students at Price Elementary School watched his fighting video and wrote letters to Zion. The students opened up about struggles ranging from schoolwork to refugee parents and societal acceptance.
“I’m sitting there, and I’m like wow,” Zion said. He was nearly moved to tears by the kids’ confessions. “I didn’t know what to think of it. I read them. I read them two or three times before I went to the next one so that I could really understand what they were saying.”
Zion plans to participate in the upcoming Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games
“I fell short of my goals (history will have to wait) to make the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, but I assure you that the lessons learned have motivated me to work harder in seeking to represent my country in these events,” Zion’s website reads.
Zion wants to participate in track and field in the Paralympics and wrestling in the Olympics. He also has his sights set on the Paralympic Bench Press event. Clark also wants to be a track and field and wrestling world champion.
When he’s not training, Zion enjoys traveling with his girlfriend. He told Chris Van Vliet that most people are surprised that he can drive:
“I have hand controls. The thumb is the gas, there’s a lever for the break and just steer with the wheel. I remember going in there and they are like ‘Sir, do you have your own vehicle?’ I did then they asked how was I driving. Is it OK with my doctor? I finally take the test, ace it and I’m like, bye!”