In 1998. A little boy was born in Cambodia, Sihanoukville. At only one year of age, this little boy was left and abandoned in the Women and Children’s Vocational Center at Chom Chao. And while this sounds like the start of a sad story of growing up with hardship. This little boy would soon be in a loving home and adopted by a single, gay, American man. At the age of 18 months, Jerry Windle adopted him and took him home. He was named Jordan Windle. Today, Jordan is an accomplished diver who qualified for the men’s platform event at the Tokyo Games.
Finding a son
Jordan’s adoptive father, Jerry, had much trouble trying to adopt in the ’90s. It was not an easy time to be gay, let alone adopt a child. Jerry tells Today News his story, and how he came to find Jordon.
“I started thumbing through a magazine and there was a story in there of a man who adopted a child from Cambodia, and it didn’t mention a mother. The story went on to talk about the close relationship between the father and his son, and something kind of clicked in my head … The article listed (the number of an adoption service) and so I called the number and I said ‘I just read an article, is it possible for a single person to adopt a child?’ and they said ‘Yes, it is.'”Jerry Windle
Months after reading that article, Jerry found his little boy. Albeit, he was sickly, malnourished, and had an infection. The little boy was barely alive. But Jerry fell in love and soon, Jordan Windle was adopted. Today, that same sickly infant is at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021.
Jordan Windle credits his father for his success
While Jerry will not be able to watch his son live at the Olympics because of Covid, Jordan knows his father is cheering him on. At just seven years old, Jordan’s journey towards becoming an Olympic diver began.
“I can usually hear (my dad) out of everyone in the audience, which is awesome. Not having him at the Olympics will be different, 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 Windle
Tim O’Brien was the start of it all when he told Jordan’s father how much he reminded him of diver Greg Louganis, a well-known and very accomplished diver. As it turns out, Tims’s father, Dr. Ron O’Brien, had been Louganis’s Olympic coach and coached Team USA over the course of eight Olympic Games.
“He said that he just saw something in Jordan, and it was kind of physiological but also inexplicable, and so Jordan said he wanted to go into diving lessons and I said ‘OK, if it’s something you want to do, let’s do it. And so at 7 years old he started diving, and he won his first junior national championship two years later, which is almost unprecedented for somebody that just got into a sport. I know the hard work that he’s put into it, it’s been earned, and I’m just really excited and proud that with his coaching staff, he’s been able to accomplish such an amazing feat.”Jerry Windle
Jordan Windle and the LGBTQ community
Of course, Jordan going to Tokyo was not only an amazing accomplishment for himself and his father but a proud moment for the LGBTQ community as well. Jordan has a teammate who is gay. Speaking to Out Sports, Jordan recalls a time where he defended him:
“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.”Jordan Windle