Home :: Stories :: Kim Hamilton - Olympian/US National Gymnist
Kim Hamilton Anthony tells Her Story
For years I searched for a sense of value and worth.
My search began early. My mother was always there for me, providing for me as best she could, letting me know that I was loved. But my father was a different story. It seemed I had little or no worth in his eyes. He would disappear for weeks on end, even failing to come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Consequently, as a little girl, I didn't think I had enough value for him to even come home.
I remember being six or seven when my father taught me how to roll joints (marijuana cigarettes). In my young mind my ability to roll joints meant I finally had some worth in his eyes. Once I sat in the home of a drug dealer and watched this dealer make "rocks", thinking 'If I could learn how to do this then my daddy would be proud of me.'
In retrospect it seems pathetic that I would think making rock cocaine would be something I could do to earn my father's love, but that's all I knew. That was life. That's how I grew up. Only years later, in college, would I realize my lifestyle was not the norml and that I had been searching for worth and value in all the wrong places.
One day I was watching the Olympics on television and was inspired to be more than a proficient drug handler and more than a welfare recipient. I wanted to be a gymnast!
For a little black girl in the hood becoming a gymnast was a crazy dream and there wasn't a day that went by that someone didn't remind me of it.. People around me told me I was wasting my time. Gymnastics, after all, is a "white girl" sport. Even after I began training and reached a certain level of proficiency, my coaches became negative. They made it clear that they didn't think I had what it took to be the best.
In spite of the negative voices surrounding me, I continued to pursue my dream.
I found myself on the U.S. National Team traveling all around the world representing the United States and became the first Black female to be recruited and receive a scholarship to compete for UCLA's gymnastics team.
And still I was searching for approval.
Even during a successful career at UCLA, which led to four NCAA titles, six All-American honors, and induction into the UCLA Hall of Fame, I found myself on an emotional roller coaster. When I did well, I felt good about myself. When I didn't perform well, I felt worthless.
Then, the summer after my freshman year, I was hanging out with some friends back home in Virginia and found myself staring down the barrel of a gun. In that moment, it didn't matter what others thought of me. It didn't matter that I didn't seem to have value to my father. Nor did it matter that I had just won a national championship a few months before. In that moment, everything I had looked toward to give me a sense of value was suddenly worth absolutely nothing.
I was fortunate to walk away from that situation unharmed, but I walked away thinking, 'there has to be more to life than this.'
That very next year, I met someone who explained to me that there indeed is so much more to life than I had been experiencing. He shared with me that God loves me, has a plan for my life, and that I can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
That's what I had been missing. That's what I had been searching for.
I asked Jesus to enter my life and make me the person He wanted me to be.
Since then, my life and attitude have changed. No longer do I look to the opinions of others, or my own accomplishments, to give me value. Now I look to the unconditional love of God, knowing that He created me as a unique individual with a very special purpose.
The change didn't take place over night. But the more I experience the love of God, the more I realize how much worth and value I have.
My search for a sense of worth and value is over. I found it in the unconditional love of God. And His love will never leave me nor change.
Kim has a book called Unfavorable Odds telling her complete story. She is also a traveling speaker.
Would you like to know the love of God that Kim now feels. You can! It all starts with knowing Jesus and letting him transform you from the inside out. His love is amazing. You can start by praying this prayer:
If you prayed this prayer and want to learn more about the Christian life, fill out the form below and we can connect you with a mentor (by email) and send you some helpful reading materials.