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Kim Anthony: My Story

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 12, 2022 10:00 pm

Kim Anthony: My Story

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 12, 2022 10:00 pm

Author & sports reporter Kim Anthony grew up with scarring realities. She relates a life story of unfavorable odd—and the moment that changed everything.

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Unfavorable Odds Podcast: Kim Anthony knows something about finding hope in the face of unfavorable odds and finds others to share their stories.

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For 18 or 19 years of my life up until that point I was told that I was a mistake I was treated like I was a mistake and I had believed it. So now here I am learning about this God who loves me and who created me on purpose for purpose and I'm realizing that you know what my values not based on my athletic accomplishments, or anything else but the fact that God loves me and created me on purpose. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue relationships that matter most time and Wilson and Dave Wilson and you can find us if we live or on our family life, family life today.

Okay I got a question of the giver arrested. I have no idea what Eunice, it's unrelated to anything but of the toughest position in all sports. What would you say is the most difficult position to play games. Florida could be an individual sport, hands down gymnastics now. Yes no yes a quarterback way harder than any position in football you are going to give me some time. There is an article written on her back position yeah couple years ago I read an article in that was the title toughest position in all of sport it said is it a goalie in hockey is it a hit a curb on major league baseball is it. They concluded the toughest position. Scariest position was quarterback because you're leading a team, you have to do with the media. If you when you're the greatest.

If you lose your and our member scenarios a college quarterback and Mike yes you know it takes a man to play that.

But here's why ask you because I think what you said is gotta be scarier. I cannot imagine. I think it's a woman Jim this on the balance beam. All you're saying. Even I was gonna say someone to compete in the all-around because you have to be good in four different events so but yes if you're going to the specific lobster balancing before and I'm like there's no way your flippant and landed on this, what, 6 inches, 404 inches is you might heard that voice over there give Anthony is with us today.

First, always a welcome family after they came thank you Eddie here with you both are audience doesn't know this, but there you know now you are a six time all American woman Jim this at UCLA back in the day. Yes, so you know you've got everything in the balance beam are all around right you you grew thin and was a gymnast as well. I'm sitting here with two women, Jim this I mean would you say it is one of the most difficult. I would think so, yes, like the sport in general is so dangerous.

Oh my goodness, you have to start when you're little, when you don't realize how dangerous it is not. Gymnastics is a sport where even just being slightly off can cause severe injury and people don't realize that a lot of people were talking about the mobiles and and what happened at the Olympics and how she needed to toughen it up and thinking you know what do you realize this woman's life is in danger did the wisest thing she could by saying you know what, I'm not ready. I need to step away. I don't think people realize how critical that was because it could have literally saved her life. Yeah why I once was preaching a church on a Sunday and I want to use a balance beam, illustrations, ghetto type deal so I get a balance beam. They've got me and put in front of the stage, which is still elevated about 45 feet in and rehearsal. I walked out on this beam and liked. I can't do this, so I had to move it right beside the stage, I could but once I'm thinking, how in the world did you women get on a 4 inch wide piece of wood and not just walk flip right in this well it can is pretty remarkable because she was also four-time national champion, yet I did you win the all-around as a freshman in UCLA in NCAA. I one floor exercise okay as a freshman. So I 14. Exercise three years row and I was injured my senior year, so I didn't get to someone about four years. Perhaps into the Hall of Fame at UCLA. That's remarkable. And not only that, but you're married to an athlete as well. What do you think your husband core when he's been married 30 years 30 years, which he said he's a football player, what sport would he say he was a gymnast that he way he tells people to this day how he would come in and watch me train and he said I would lost all respect for every other sport is wild so I don't understand average your bio understand how you can be a six time American if you're in college for five years okay is a yearly or a house of work.

I competed all-around so that's four events each year. So you have an opportunity follower and for all American titles each year. Yes okay so that was years ago were talking UCLA is not Ball State where I when it's up there so walk us through your story little bit how you end up there were your gymnast, your whole life tells but your family, how did this all start will gymnastics for me started when I was watching the 76 Olympics. Nadia was competing and I was sitting on the floor of my grandmother's house and at the time we lived with my grandmother. Often times we didn't have the ability to afford to live in our own place so we would live with family members. My mom and I and I was watching Nadia and I said hey I can do that. So I went into the living room and started doing front flips no landing on my back, knocking over tables and lamps and got sent outside and try to take the pillows outside with me but my grandmother's like on the know know you you go out there so I went outside to these brick sidewalks and started flipping around taught myself several skills. My mother thought I was going to seriously injure myself and then she took me to erect class at a gym across town so we had to take two buses to get there and I get to this right class and I see all of these mats and this equipment and it was like the heavens opened up the Angels to see and so I'm flipping around and I got in trouble several times during during this class because when we were supposed to be on the low beam. I was on the high beam when were supposed to swing on the little lobar I was climbing up on the high bar and the coach had to keep reprimanding me so after the classes over the coach calls me over and I thought to myself she's going to tell me to never come back. I'm getting so much trouble. So I sheepishly walk over to him and he asked me. So where have you trained before and I said no I just flip outside of my grandmas house on the sidewalk on the brick sidewalk and he says will show me what you taught yourself. So I started to inside aerials and just flip it around and he invited me to join the team that day. How old were you I was nine, almost 10 well so that's late in gymnastics will take us back mean you said go quickly. You know, we lived in different houses and the different families what was going on as you grew up and where did you grow up. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and my mother was a teenager when she got pregnant with me at one of the things I don't know if you know this, but because she was living in poverty. Her family was living and a two-bedroom house 10 to 13 people that time and there wasn't enough room for another, and because of that situation of poverty. My mother was counseled to do a self induced abortion to prevent me from being born into a set of dire circumstances only see she was 17.

I think she was 17 at the time and she did what she was told she tried she tried several times she tried. Because that advice came from someone she loved and respected so she thought a self induced abortion was the only way, and after several failed attempts.

She refused to keep trying and she told me that she really wanted to keep me but she just didn't know what to do. She was doing what she was told told her you when you found out that she tried.

I don't think I knew until I was in an adult for sure.

And it could have been when I was writing my story, putting my story and into a book form so we can mention that unfavorable odds in favor of your family life today you can get it from a resource center and you have a podcast with the family podcast network and that's called unfavorable and so you interview people that really overcome and go through anyway that some you can listen to and I'm sitting here were looking at a person with how I know about your story.

This mean I look at you and think at all.

God has done in through you think that's remarkable. Thank you so did she end up having to leave their house and give birth to you how to go so she they allowed her to stay in the home. I was born and even just it was a struggle for me to get into this world to enter into this world, because my mother had been hit by a car when she was little she was like a five-year-old was hit by a drunk driver and that driver, the car, dragged her down the street and he crushed her pelvic bone. So when it came time for her to deliver me. The doctors rented major complications and they told her either. You are going to die or your child will not live but one of you will not survive. So they gave her a choice and when I think about it. She was this teenage girl who had a second chance of opting out of motherhood but instead of allowing the doctors to annotate the life of the child. She said no, you do whatever you can to save my baby even if it cost me my own life. So as she was giving birth. My head was caught beneath her pelvic bone. They thought they would have to break my neck in order to free me which would of course because my life and then out of nowhere this Dr. this other doctor comes in and in and he believes that he could save us both, and that's exactly what he did so. Second time my life was spared and I was I was born into the situation where my parents ended up getting married shortly after I was born and I suffered there. Okay, who's this other doctor. Sounds like an angel idea guy love Manor was little manner when it was came in and spared both your lives thinking and just a 17-year-old girl year and one of the most selfish stages of your letting me sickly and she chooses life for you as remarkable. So your mom and your dad get married yes and things don't turn out so good. You know it's not one of those happily ever after type stories. He was in the military and he had experienced some some difficult things in and he began to use drugs and he became abusive when I look into the eyes of my mother.

I I knew that I was loved and she cherished me and she told me she loved me. She was always there for me.

But when it came to my father. I didn't feel like I had much value or worth in his eyes at all because he would disappear for days and weeks on end and there were times when he wouldn't show up for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and I never understood what was going on but my mom and I just continued to live life and we struggled. I what was hard when you say you struggled, what were you struggling with life right now have so many things going through my mind. I hear you're trying to hold back tears. My mom is use just heard is a 17-year-old euros. Just amazing woman and she did everything she could to provide for me. I remember this Christmas where I think I was in middle school. My father hadn't come home. He wasn't there and she was sitting there all alone and I walked and to celebrate and she was always sad.

Christmas was a sad time for us and it was because she knew that she couldn't provide for me the types of presence that child would want. And this Christmas she had these presents under the tree and they were beautifully wrapped and I sat across from her and she passed me these presents and I pull back the wrapping paper in the tissue paper and in all I found in those boxes were small notes and she had written on those notes.

What she would've gotten me if she had the money to do so. Give us an example like what would one say so I think I was maybe in seventh or eighth grade. So mainly I wanted clothing and shoes things like that so it would be Jean jacket denim skirt or white blouse or vest things like that so I had these so what would have been this major disaster in the eyes of any child or any mother.

What we did was we sat on the floor and we took all of these pieces of paper and we matched outfits and she said okay so we have all these outfits here, but you can wear this jacket with this. And you can wear this shirt with this skirt and we can switch around and you can go for two weeks without wearing the same suit that was who my mother was such a positive woman and living and growing up in an environment where I was surrounded by drugs, financial hardships, she was so incredibly positive and I think I know it's because of her that I even had the courage to become a gymnast that was your data out of the picture in the entry lever he was in and out of the picture. They were married, divorced, and then they remarried but even when they remarried. He was only around when it was convenient or when he wanted to be and when he was around depending on what mood he was in. It could be very difficult. How did he feel about that, Kim, and what it that do to your own identity and self-esteem having your dad in and out of your life. It felt as if I was being abandoned over and over and over again so when he wasn't there.

We could relax.

We would exhale. We felt safe. We felt like we would be okay but then we never knew when he was going to come back. There was no warning, but when the keys would jingle at the door I would go into a panic and I would hide because I didn't know who was going to walk in that door so that feeling of soon as you feel like you can relax but then you know he comes back again and then there's distress there's fear you just don't know what's going to happen. I was afraid for my mother. It was just difficult as your mom ever say no, back in here group to scare us or to just keep going.

I can't say whether or not she ever said no, not in front of me. It could be that she said no but that just wasn't happening. But I know that she finally stood up for herself. Let me backtrack. We talked about this as I was writing my book, I because I wanted to know I said I want to make sure I'm writing what's correct and that I remember everything correctly and so I'm talking through these things and she like why didn't you leave this abusive relationship and she said Kimi I want you to grow up in a home with the mother and father. She wanted so desperate plea for me to have this intact household that she put up with a lot of unfortunate and dangerous things and I told her I said oh I wish you would've talked to me about that.

I would let you out the book, but she was just amazing and in many people in that situation who are being abused.

Whether it's verbal or physical abuse will not leave because of the fear. It's a scary thing and most people don't even report so she was one of those women that was the trip from Virginia to California to go to college was an escape at the time her gymnastics as a whole wasn't an escape for me.

That was the only place where I could be in control of what I was doing flipping through the air, twisting landing and as difficult as the sport was it was it wasn't as difficult as my my home life was at the time. So going away to UCLA was which we need to add to you are the first black American gymnast that was ever offered a scholarship.

Is that correct yes. How did that feel well. I didn't know it at the time I had no idea. I knew that I was in a sport where I was one of very few black gymnast and I almost didn't go to UCLA because I was so tired of the sport. It had taken a lot out of me and we hear about how gymnast have been treated and it was difficult and I didn't think I could go through another four years of that, but I went off to UCLA and college gymnastics was quite different from club gymnastics. It was fun. We could laugh we could get enjoy our our time. It was an escape from my my background, but I would still talk with my mother and get updates on what was going on and I will never forget the conversation that I had with her where she finally since I was away. She felt the strength and the power to tell my father know this will not continue to go on as is and she put her out of her apartment, our apartment that had her name on it. She came home and found all of her things in the front yard and she was the one struggling to pay the rent for that place and I remember talking with her and Jackie Joyner curse.

He was the first person I saw she was something someone UCLA whom I admired and I felt that she would be the only one who would understand because my teammates that came from a totally different lifestyle and I wasn't comfortable sharing my background and what really went on at home with them so I talked with Jackie and she just comforted me. I can picture it. This day I was standing in the athletic department and I'm just telling her about this and she was giving me the best comfort she could possibly give so I escaped but there were still the stuff hanging over my head winded or how did God become a part of your story. You're listening to David and Wilson with him. Anthony on family life today would hear her answer in just a minute. The first Father's Day is coming up this weekend during you that the right hope you did well. We want to send you a copy of Brian Larissa's book called the dad difference.

The four most important gifts you can give your kids is our gift to you. When you make a donation of any amount this week to support the work of family life today you can give securely or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-3583 29 could be a one-time gift or a recurring monthly gift in the number is 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today. Right now, back to Kim, Anthony, and how God became a part of her story. I went back home to Virginia after my freshman year I was hanging out with some of my friends and we were walking to a fast food place and it was late at night. Probably one in the morning and there were some words exchanged between a group of guys I was with and some others. And it was over something very silly so we went up to the restaurant and we were still standing outside and I hear this person come up from behind me screaming and yelling and I turned around to see what was going on and when I did I found myself staring down the barrel of a gun and this angry young man behind the gun he held it point blank to my head was telling me that he was going to kill me. That night, and all of these things rush through my mind. It didn't matter whether my father was coming home. It didn't matter whether he loved me or not. It didn't matter that I had just won my first NCAA national championship title just a few months before everything that I had looked to to give me value was all of a sudden worth absolutely nothing and by the grace of God I I walked away from that event unharmed, but I walked away thinking there has to be more to life than this you live you die. And for what purpose, and it was that fall probably just a month or so later I met a young football player and he sat me down and he pulled out the little yellow booklet called the four spiritual laws and he shared with me that God loved me and had a plan for my life and that there was more to life than what I had been experiencing. So I had never heard the gospel before I had never heard that God cared about me.

I was one of those people who I was really hoping that God was real just wasn't sure that it was because the life I was seeing around me wasn't reflecting so right then and there. He had no idea that my life had been threatened just 80 a month or so before but right then and there I knew that's what I had been missing. So I I prayed on the spot and I asked Jesus to come into my heart make me the person he wanted me to be surrendered my life to Christ and my life slowly begin to change.

And it wasn't that the Angels saying like they did in the gym but I started to feel a bit different.

The things that I used to do. I started to no longer feel comfortable doing. As I began to read God's word and learn more about who he was. I also began to discover who I was that I was not a mistake. So for 18 or 19 years of my life up until that point I was told that I was a mistake I was treated like I was a mistake and I had believed it. So now here I am learning about this God who loves me and who created me on purpose for purpose and I'm realizing that you know what my values not based on my athletic accomplishments. My popularity or anything else but the fact that God loves me and created me on purpose interesting to think you knows you said earlier, if you go back to your birth. You know you can see there are signs that God had a plan for your life and you go in your life you like. It doesn't seem like he's here and yet now in college, you realize. Usually I think of Ephesians 210 you are God's. We are God's workmanship is in Christ Jesus to do good works, which she prepared before hand were sitting here looking at you like this story is remarkable that in the sad thing is, we haven't heard the best part yet you know where you have to go on a journey to forgive your mama dead and I think we need talk about that in order next episode I say Daniel to I think it's important for us all to remember and to know, just as you said, can that God has a plan for you. Yes, that he wanted you that he saw you even when you can't see sometimes we all get to that point where we wonder, like God. Do you have a plan for me you love me, do you see me and the answer to that is absolutely yes keep looking because there is a God who is pursuing you that has a plan for you and he loves you no matter what David and Wilson with Kim Anthony on family life to you could find Kim Anthony's podcast called unfavorable odds wherever you get your podcast she talks with all kinds of people who have found their strength in Christ while going through really hard times their deep and inspiring conversations and you won't regret subscribing so search for unfavorable odds or go to family life to a and find the family life podcast network in the menu. If you know anyone who needs to hear today's conversation. Be sure to share it with them from wherever you get your podcast and while you're there.

It really help us out if you rate and review us tomorrow. David and Wilson are gonna be talking again with Kim Anthony about finding her own walk with God. Apart from relying on a boyfriend that's coming up tomorrow. We hope you can join us on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm shall be added back next time for another edition of family life, family life, and is a production of family life ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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