Jerry Windle taught his son how to be a straight ally to the LGBTQ community. And now he’ll be cheering him on at the Tokyo Games.
Between the historic achievements of Greg Louganis, Matthew Mitcham and Tom Daley, gay athletes have been very good for Olympic diving.
With the Summer Games a little over a month away, the LGBTQ community will soon be represented in that sport in a new role: proud parent.
During last week’s U.S. Olympic Diving Trials, 22-year-old Jordan Windle officially qualified for the men’s platform event at the Tokyo Games. Windle’s father, Jerry, is a gay man who adopted Jordan from a Cambodian orphanage at 18-months-old.
Jerry became Jordan’s father after enduring numerous difficulties trying to adopt in the United States as a single gay man, according to NBC Sports’ Brandon Penny. His first several months with his new son were spent helping Jordan recover from “malnutrition, scabies, intestinal parasites, and severe infections.”
After being noticed by diving coach Ron O’Brien’s son Tim at a diving camp at the age of 7, Jordan entered the Fort Lauderdale diving program and quickly advanced through the ranks, eventually winning four U.S. junior titles. Along the way, Jordan and Jerry co-authored a children’s book based on their family experience called, “An Orphan No More: The True Story of a Boy.”
During this time, Jordan was also introduced to Louganis, who took him on as a diving protege — to the point where Windle was dubbed “The Little Louganis.” Upon qualifying for Tokyo, Windle related that the Olympic gold medalist counseled him “to always have fun and treat it like a sport’s supposed to be.”
In less than two months, Jerry will be cheering him on as the dad of an Olympic athlete. There are certain life stories that are seemingly made to become inspirational TV montages and Windle’s should be at the very top of the list.
As for lessons his dad taught him, Windle recalled a moment where he came to the defense of a gay teammate on Cyd Zeigler’s Five Rings to Rule Them All podcast:
“I have been trying my whole life to be a role model to other people and show that we’re just one huge family and that we have to treat each other like a family. And my dad has been teaching me that since the beginning and in that one instance, it was easy for me to defend him. I wouldn’t take it back for anything and I’d do it again if I had to.”
In return for instilling that sense of allyship, Jordan just gave Jerry the best Father’s Day present any dad could hope for.