Friday, August 15, 2003

Tracey Allen e-mailed with the suggestion for this week's Amputee of the Week and I must confess I gave it some thought before deciding to go with him.

It may not surprise you to learn that I'm not a fan of WWE.

To be honest, I just don't get it, never have.

Even so, reading about pro-wrestler Zach Gowen made me delve further into the world of muscley blokes wearing spandex (I don't get that either.)

In second grade, Gowen was playing soccer when a ball collided with his left knee and pain coursed throughout his body. The following summer, the knee literally snapped while he was bowling. When the cast was removed, doctors noticed a grapefruit-sized tumor underneath his flesh. It turned out to be osteogenic sarcoma, a form of cancer that weakens the bones. To prevent it from spreading to the rest of his body, doctors amputated his left leg in January 1992.

Gowen not only learned to survive with one leg, but to flourish. After earning an academic scholarship to Eastern Michigan University, he began training for a wrestling career. He had his first WWE match on July 3, 2003.

I have some concerns over Zach Gowen, who's also known by the ludicrous stage-name Tenacious Z.

For one, his nickname is "the one-legged wonder" and I can't help feeling there's a large element of the freakshow in his act (you can read more objections to Zach Gowen here). I've never seen him perform but I'd imagine that the sight of a slight bloke with one leg taking on the WWE beefcakes is hardly a convincing one.

Even so, there's no question that Zach has triumphed over his amputation...and for that reason alone he's this week's Amputee of the Week.


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