High school wrestler with missing limbs inspires thousands, wins state title

Posted at 9:14 AM, Feb 22, 2022

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Every high school athlete dreams of winning a state championship. But not every athlete has to overcome what Adonis Lattimore has dealt with his entire life.

Adonis was born without a right leg, most of his left leg and only one finger on his right hand. But he still capped off his high school career on a high note over the weekend by winning the Virginia Class 6 high school wrestling tournament.

It was all part of a quest that his father, Jerrold Lattimore, described as "a story of a lifetime."

Adonis's parents knew he would do special things when he was born.

"We knew from day one that he was going to have an impact," Jerrold Lattimore said. "Didn't know what it was going to be, how it was going to be, how it was going to play out, but we knew he was going to have an impact."

They were right.

Since he gravitated toward wrestling at 7 years old, Adonis proved all of his doubters wrong.

Video of his championship-winning match in his weight class of 106 pounds quickly went viral, making for a whirlwind 48 hours.

"It's been crazy, just coming off of winning a state title and just coming to realize that I really won it," said Adonis, a senior at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach. "I really accomplished what I set out to do."

Adonis now has a gold medal to display along with a framed copy of the bracket — a map of his conquest. It's a goal that every high school wrestler shoots for, but rarely do champions carry the weight that Adonis carried to the top of the mountain.

The moment the final period ended, he, his team and his family celebrated.

"I was really excited," Adonis said. "I had finally done it. I couldn't control myself and just screamed out."

"The challenges, the obstacles, the naysayers, the doubters, your own self-doubt, the questions. To see it all come together in that one moment is priceless," Adonis' father said.

Adonis was not alone throughout his journey. His father and Landstown head coach James Sanderlin both credit a number of people for helping along the way, noting the support of the entire Hampton Roads wrestling community.

Now, national outlets are taking notice.

"To see the national and social media level of support and commentary that's coming from that is unreal," Jerrold Lattimore said.

"It's really exciting to see how much support I had behind me, really seeing how many people I inspire," Adonis said.

"It's been a great journey," Sanderlin said. "It's a road that he took and I got to be a part of it. He did all the work, I just got to ride with him and enjoy it."

"It has been an emotional roller-coaster, not just this past weekend, but just from start to finish," Jerrold Lattimore said. "This chapter closing, it's been a roller-coaster."

"You can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it, really strive towards it and just take it one step at a time," Adonis said.

Even though his high school career has come to a close, Adonis plans to continue his career at the college level.

This story was originally published by Marc Davis on Scripps station WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia.