It’s being called the most inspirational run in the history of the “American Ninja Warrior” television series. While it was a memorable stint in WWE over a decade ago with the likes of Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan and Brock Lesnar that initially propelled Zach Gowen to stardom as the world’s first one-legged pro wrestler, the tenacious Gowen took his journey, courage, and story to a whole new audience this past Monday night as he looked to conquer the American Ninja Warrior course. If you missed it, highlights are available on NBC’s official website and Zach’s run can be found right here – http://www.nbc.com/american-ninja-warrior/video/zach-gowen-indianapolis-qualifier/3050845
Regardless of outcome, Zach stated in a post-run interview that it was a victory in and of itself just to be able to show up and run the course and show that he’s not defined by his disability or limitations. “Thanks to all for the kind words,” Zach wrote on his official Facebook Page (www.Facebook.com/ZachGowen) immediately following the broadcast, “This is God’s victory, my recovery community’s victory, my family’s victory, and OUR victory. ‘I am because we are.'”.
The words of Zach echo a message he’s been spreading throughout the country through motivational speaking, personal appearances at schools and hospitals, and his original love and form of self-expression – professional wrestling. It’s also a message Zach himself has been living his entire life, facing challenges head on ranging from an absent father, to the cancer that took his leg from him at age 8, to later battles with addiction in his adult years. To those unfamiliar, Zach’s story is one of tragedy and triumph. From the brink of death to the chance to live again. A man who had to lose it all in order to find himself.
Zach’s journey through life, wrestling, and his own coming of age is so compelling, it was released onto DVD & Digital Download in the recent past, called “Finding Zach Gowen”. The piece is brutally honest, somber at times, uplifting at others, as Zach himself weaves together his tale with the help of interviews with family & friends, ranging from his mother, his fiancee, and pro wrestling greats such as Truth Martini, Rhino, Jimmy Jacobs, Paul London, and many others.