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CBN.com “I was actually watching the Olympics when Nadia Comaneci was competing. I looked at her and said, ‘Hey, I can do that.’”
And she did… Kim Anthony rocked the gymnastics world.
During the late ‘80s she was Kim Hamilton, a powerhouse gymnast with natural beauty and phenomenal talent who taught herself how to fly.
“I just flipped around on the sidewalks everyday all day long,” Kim recalls. “Taught myself how to do several pretty tough skills, and that’s how it began.”
Her amateur skills impressed her coaches. It was the start of a spectacular career -- a series of U.S. national titles, NCAA wins and international recognition. Kim even made history by becoming the first Black woman to be recruited and awarded a gymnastics scholarship to UCLA. She later earned a spot in the UCLA Hall of Fame.
Things were hard for Kim growing up. How did her family afford the training?
Kim replies, “We came up with some very innovative ways. One of the things we did was we cleaned up the gym after practice.”
Kim and her parents scraped up money by working the coat check stand at a nightclub.
“Then they would clear the dance floor about midnight or 1:00 in the morning, and then I would perform my floor routine under a disco ball,” she says. “After that I’d have to walk home, which was probably close to 10 miles.”
Kim grew up in a rough neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. Her parents had a rocky relationship. Her father battled a bitter drug addiction, often disappearing for days on end.
“I loved him so much, and it hurt me so deeply that he didn’t bother to come home. So somehow I equated that with not having value in his eyes,” Kim says. “I remember being at a drug dealer’s house watching him make crack cocaine and following him step-by-step thinking that if I could just learn how to do this, then my daddy will be proud of me.”
At the time, Kim was only seven years old. She found shelter in her mother’s love. Still, the ache from her painful past boiled into anger. She experimented with drugs to numb the pain. But mandatory drug testing at UCLA put a stop to her social drug use. In the gym, Kim remained at the top of her game, but she would soon realize that success couldn’t save her life.
“The summer after my freshman year at UCLA I had just won my first national championship title. I went back home, and I was hanging out with some of my friends. All of a sudden I heard this screaming and yelling coming up behind me. So I turned around only to find myself staring down the barrel of a gun. Behind that gun was an angry young man.
“I just remember him having it so close to my head, telling me that he was going to shoot me. I looked at him. I flicked my hand, and I walked away. But I walked away thinking, ‘You know what? There just has to be more to life than this.’ It was that very next year that I met Corwin.”
Corwin Anthony played football for UCLA and would later go pro. He says, “I had just committed my life to Christ, and I knew that meant walking completely with Him, giving up everything. I was afraid that if I started acting too much like a Christian, she would reject me. I didn’t realize that that was the best thing I could have done.”
“He shared with me that God loved me and had a plan for my life,” Kim says. “I had never heard that before. I knew that that is exactly what I needed at the time. I ended up praying, and I asked Jesus to come into my heart and make me the person that He wants me to be.
“Before I came to know Christ, I was really searching for value and worth. What I’ve discovered in my latter years is that actually I was searching for the love of a father. I was searching for that father’s love that gives you that sense of security, that gives you that sense of self-worth, that value that will never change.”
God has healed many of Kim’s emotional wounds. Through his love, she has found the power to forgive her dad.
“I forgive him for everything that he’s done in the past. I know that he was a young dad learning himself, and I understand that.”
Kim and Corwin’s careers converged in southern Florida. With a love for God and a passion for sports, they carved the perfect careers as co-chaplains for the Miami Dolphins.
Together she and her husband coach couples on how to grow in their faith and in marriage. Kim also keeps busy as a television host in Miami Dade County. Each week, Kim leads a Bible study for the Miami Dolphins’ wives. But the ministry closest to her heart is at home as a wife and mother.
“What I love most about my life is the security I have in Christ,” she says. “I feel as if I have the world at my fingertips, because if I set a goal, I can go for it. If I reach that goal, wonderful. If I don’t, if it’s not for me, then that’s okay. I can fall back into the arms of Christ. So He has given me that security in life.”
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