NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio — There's no question that Zion Clark's star is on the rise.
The top wrestler from Massillon, Ohio, born without legs, has overcome so many odds - including a difficult childhood spent in foster homes. His wrestling success has made him the focus of ESPN profiles, a Netflix documentary, and of course, stories right here on Channel 3.
And last week, he had his big "Ellen" moment - appearing with his adoptive mother Kimberlli Clark Hawkins to share their story and help Ellen DeGeneres surprise Kim with a brand-new car.
WKYC's Matt Wintz caught up with the pair near the Kent State University Tuscarawas campus, where Zion is completing his sophomore year.
"They just really liked my story and just wanted to get me out there as soon as possible. Like they got a hold of me a week before and the next week after, I was in California," Zion told us of his whirlwind "Ellen" experience.
At the time of our interview, less than week after her big surprise, Kim was still in shock, saying, "Just for him to do that for me on national TV, you know I was telling someone what I meant by proud mom moment. ...Wow, it's a great feeling."
"She turned me around, got me on the right track. She’s doing a lot for me, why not pay her back tenfold," Zion said.
But a new car isn't the only new set of wheels for the Clarks. On the same day their "Ellen" appearance aired, Zion was given a brand-new racing chair by the team at Cleveland's GV Art + Design.
"I’ll be using that chair to compete in professional sanctioned meets and a lot of different races. It’s a great thing and I’m really blessed by GV Artwork that they did this for me," Zion said.
The chair will come in handy as Zion sets his sights on his next goal - Olympic history, attempting to compete in both the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games.
Kim told us she knows he can reach that goal.
"I know that it is in him, I saw it from day one," she said.
We had a few small surprises of our own up our sleeves - as Matt shared that Waikem Family Auto Group was offering to take care of 10 free oil changes and five tire rotations to help keep Kim's new Chevrolet running smoothly.
And, we presented Zion and Kim with framed photos of their time on the "Ellen" set, a day they surely won't be forgetting any time soon.