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Wrestling Champion Sees Victory from a New Height

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Adonis Lattimore is a distinguished wrestler! Virginia’s Class Six-A, 106 pound State Champ! A distinction, from not only the success he had on high school mats across Virginia, but achieving it with what he doesn’t have! Adonis was born without a right leg, a full left leg, and four digits on his right hand. Adonis and his parents, Jerrold and Demetra, have long known how to wrestle - from struggle – since embracing the unexpected at Adonis’ birth in 2004.  

Demetra Lattimore: “We were not aware of his condition until he was actually delivered. The umbilical cord wrapped around a limb and the limb wasn’t able to develop. You could tell that something was wrong.”

Jerrold Lattimore: “It was multiple emotions, I mean, it was the excitement of life but then it was also the grief of lost limbs."

Demetra Lattimore: “I was sitting there, and a nurse said, ‘Things happen for a reason and I was chosen to be his parent!'"

Jerrold Lattimore: “The first question I think people always want to ask is: ‘what happened and then, why?’ I had to accept the fact that there wasn’t going to be a ‘why’ – and this is what God has given us. And so, we accept that. God makes no mistakes!”

Question: “Adonis, what is the greatest challenge?”                                            

Adonis Lattimore: “There are some things I want to do myself but often times I can’t do them. I don’t want to rely on other people, become a burden to them. So, that’s always been my biggest weakness but it’s also strength, because I’m not totally defenseless! I can’t worry about what I don’t have. I just need to focus on what I do have. One of the seven deadly sins is envy, the desire to want something that someone else has. I want to figure out a way to do it myself and make it my own.”  

Demetra Lattimore: “It’s been hard as far as raising someone with a uniqueness like him. We have three other kids, navigating through how to do things differently then what people take for granted. The little teeny things. You know, the door width, the entry on the sidewalk that’s safe. Let him know that even though its not the traditional way that things are done – that you can still do it!”  

Question: “You have a lower sight line, what do you see that some of us may never see?

Adonis Lattimore: “Just like the foundation of everything. I see lower to the ground than most people so I notice how things are structured, how things are built up and what’s keeping them up, that people take for granted that I tend to notice a lot more.”

Question: “How does the likeness of God look different when you look at your son?”

Demetra Lattimore: “We’re made into the image of God. When I look at Adonis, everybody has something unique people are drawn to. Embrace it! Ask God to show you the way to deal with it. And give you those tools to carry on! No matter how different we are, we all are loved.”

Question: “You elected the name, Adonis. Why?”

Jerrold Lattimore: “The meaning of Adonis’ name is ‘God’s Blessing.’ Comes from an African proverb. We embraced the name! He’s embodied that I would say. I’ve always felt each person has their own identity, that we wanted him to be who he was and what God has in store for him.”

Question: “What was it about the sport of wrestling?”         

Jerrold Lattimore: “I competed in sports all throughout my childhood and I just wanted him to know what it felt like to be able to compete. To allow his abilities to make the determination of how well he did or didn’t do. When he decided that was something he wanted, I just wanted to be there, just make sure that if he loves it, then it’s a love that I have.”

Question: “To become a wrestler, where did that come from?”

Adonis Lattimore: “That ability to win on my own instead of with other team sports where I’m sort of relying on teammates just as well!”   

Question: “Because of your unique composition, what gives you an advantage?” 

Adonis Lattimore: “The mental fortitude! Since I’ve been tested in life a lot more than the average person would be just in daily life, then, when I come to the mat there’s not much that can rattle me.”  

Question: “Virginia State Wrestling Champion. That was a goal for a while?”

Adonis Lattimore: “Ah, just a childhood dream. One of the higher accomplishments you could do in wrestling. The name sort of sounded appealing to me and that’s want I wanted to do and as I grew older, to fulfill that dream sort of became stronger.”

Question: “Putting together faith and determination?” 

Adonis Lattimore: “You need to have a strong faith even when you can’t see something coming. And to tie that to your determination is just as an important aspect as having that faith. There was a point in wrestling where I felt like giving up and the pressure to fulfill my goal had gotten too much for me to handle. I saw God working. I had faith that He was going to help me revive my dream!”   

Question: “In the title match, what for you was the turning point?” 

Adonis Lattimore: “There was about a minute left. A thought popped in my head that, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ Just turned off my brain and then I started wrestling freely. It was almost like I was being guided. But I eventually scored the final points to win the match.”  

Question: “That Championship win, what was going through your mind in that moment?”

Jerrold Lattimore: “Just a rush of excitement and just joy! That’s something he said he wanted to do, the journey that come to fruition. (Emotional pause) Priceless! Him to have his moment. To be recognized! After the match, when they take the podium and they’re getting their medals and man, it’s the moment that goes back to when he was born, that grief, but also that happiness. ”

Question: “Lets go back to that picture, of you embracing Adonis. You’re carrying his full weight. How does love shoulder more than we realize we can carry?”

Jerrold Lattimore: “It symbolizes what God does for us on a day in and day out basis. The weight that God has carried. That He carries for us! He’s always there. He’s always got us. I don’t know what I would do or what I would be if it wasn’t for what God continuously does in my life.”

Question: “Out comes dad, carrying your full weight. How does love shoulder more?” 

Adonis Lattimore: “I think love carries with it, doubt, sadness, fears, anxiety. It carries both the positive and the negative things with it. And that’s what makes unconditional love, loving you no matter what and always pulling you back up. Jesus’ love, even when it seems something random like happens, even my birth can sort of be like that. Sometimes the greatest blessing can be born when you’re at your lowest moment.”   


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About The Author

Tom Buehring

Tom currently travels as a National Sports Correspondent for The 700 Club and CBN News. He engages household sports names to consider the faith they’ve discovered within their own unique journey. He has over 30 years of experience as a TV sports anchor, show host, reporter and producer, working commercially at stations in Seattle, Tampa, Nashville and Fayetteville where he developed, launched and hosted numerous nightly and weekly shows and prime-time specials. Prior to his TV market hopping, Tom proposed and built an academic/intern television broadcast program at the University of North