Cyclist overcomes odds to compete in Special Olympics - FOX 13 News

Cyclist overcomes odds to compete in Special Olympics

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Carrying the Olympic torch, some young men and women are showing off their ability to beat the odds.

Among them is Mark Zak. He is excited, but that enthusiasm hasn’t always come easily.

"There's been some challenges of course, with the autistic spectrum disorder, as well as controlling his seizures, which started about four years ago," explained Mark's dad, Allen Zak.

However, Mark found his strength in cycling.

"He had flat feet and we were looking for a sport. He gained quite a bit of weight, so it was a great way for him to start losing that weight," Allen said.

Soon, Mark was losing weight and winning competitions.

"It's good to see him out there competing. The fellowship with the other athletes and so many peer supports," Allen said.

However, with victory came even more roadblocks.

"He recently fractured his jaw. He had a seizure on the bike, so now we've gotten to a recumbent bike instead," his dad said, "So he's got two wheels in the front, one in the back."

With his new wheels, Mark is now headed to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.

"We're going to New Jersey!" Mark said.

It's not the first time Mark has competed in the national games. In fact, he brought home the gold from Athens.

"It was a great opportunity to go to Athens. I never would've dreamed as a family we would've ever get there," said Mark's dad. "He won a gold and a silver medal."

A winner who won't let anything hold him down.

FOX is a proud sponsor of The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, which will take place in New Jersey from June 14 - 21. Good luck to all of the inspirational athletes!

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