Life
Single man adopted ill child then raises an Olympic champion
With the odds against them...they proved the world wrong.
Eduardo Gaskell
12.31.21

Jerry Windle never thought he could be a dad. He was a single gay man in the nineties, which was a totally different time, but a magazine story about a man who adopted a child from Cambodia would change all that.

Jerry felt hope as he read the story between the father and his son.

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So he called the listed number of an adoption service, informing them that he found the number in an article. He went on to ask if a single person could adopt a child.

The service said yes.

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A few months later, Jerry had in his arms a sick 18-month-old boy in an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The baby named Jordan had scabies and intestinal parasites. The poor child was malnourished and suffered from severe infections.

Jerry adopted the boy, nursing him back to good health. That once sickly boy went on to represent the country in the Tokyo Olympics.

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Jordan Windle was placed in a Cambodian orphanage when he was just a year old after his birth parents died. He represented the United States on the U.S. Olympic Diving Team after he took second at the Olympic trials.

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Jordan says his dad is the loudest out of everyone in the audience during his competitions. COVID restrictions then meant Jerry couldn’t go to Tokyo but he still supported his son.

“I wish he was there, but that doesn’t really change what I’m going there to do: To have fun, show off a little bit, and put on a show for everyone. That’s going to be my intention and I’m hopefully going to make him proud,” Jordan said.

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It was at summer camp when a 7-year-old Jordan impressed a man named Tim O’Brien. O’Brien told Jerry that Jordanreminded him of the legendary diver, Greg Louganis. A swimmer his own father coached.

Jordan started diving at 7. He won his first national junior national championship at 9.

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Jordan never forgets his roots. He grew up in the US but he still represented Cambodia in his heart during the Olympics. He even had the Cambodian flag tattooed on his arm.

Jerry, together with family and friends, had a watch party at home in full support of his son.

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“It’s disappointing but at the same time this is Jordan’s journey and this is the pinnacle of it, and I want him to enjoy this experience as best he can … That’s what I’ve always wanted for him,” Jerry said.

Jordan went on to say that he would think of his father during the competition.

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“I tell everyone, when they ask me why I dive, I dive purely for my dad and how much he loves watching me,” the athlete said.

“Without him making all the sacrifices that he has, and his love and support the whole time we’ve been together, I really wouldn’t be where I am today. I have him to thank for everything, all my accomplishments. It’s been an amazing journey with him, and we’re still rolling.”

Meet Jerry and Jordan below!

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By Eduardo Gaskell
hi@sbly.com
Eduardo Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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