Who are Fred Kerley's parents? Here's why Olympian was adopted by aunt as a toddler
Kerley and his three siblings were raised by his aunt Virginia, who often went without food to feed the 13 children in her home
Team USA's Fred Kerley just won the silver medal in 2020 Tokyo Olympics men's 100m final on the morning of Sunday, July 31, leaving an exuberant buzz all over Twitter as he set a personal best record of 9.84 seconds. This comes after Kerley had set anticipations high for himself after he won the first semifinal heat with a record time of 9.96 seconds.
Kerley, who had won bronze at the 100m US Team Trials for this year's games, was beaten in the Olympic finals by Marcell Jacobs. The winner from Italy bagged gold by finishing the race with a personal best time of 9.80 seconds. Canada's Andre De Grasse also ran a personal best of 9.89 seconds that earned him the bronze.
Jacobs, who just became the fastest man alive, had finished second in the semi-finals with a time of 9.83 seconds.
But even though Kerley might have been beaten to the spot by the Italian sprinter, his wins and accolades within a few years as a professional in the field hgas cemented his legacy. And most of that glory should be credited to his aunt Virginia, who adopted Kerley as a toddler when his parents were absentees.
Who are Fred Kerley's parents?
According to his official bio on the USA Track and Field website, Kerley is the son of Ricky and Virginia Kerley, whom he once described as absent parents with at least one of them being in trouble with the law. Kerley was born in a family of two brothers and two sisters, all of whom were adopted at a very young age by their aunt Virginia. While social media has long speculated and debated how or why Kerley was adopted by a family member, and where his parents are, the American sprinter put end to all queries when he snubbed them on social media.
"I was adopted [sic] my dad in prison my mom somewhere I don’t know but look at me y’all ppl need help for real," Kerley had replied to a tweet in 2018. The USA track and Field website also shares that Kerley, who was adopted by his aunt as a toddler, had quite the troubled childhood growing up. "Kerley and his four siblings were going to be split up, but she took care of all of them...His aunt had children of her own as well, so there were 13 children in the house," the website details.
Writing in a personal essay titled 'Meme and Me', Kerley had also shared: "I was two when I first moved in with her, a toddler who didn’t know what was happening around him. My Dad ended up in jail, my Mom took wrong turns in life, which meant Aunt Virginia was the only one who could take care of me and my four siblings." Freddy also talked about his aunt's kindness and how she raised more generations after him and his cousins. Once he decided he was going to be a sprinter, he also decided to get his aunt's nickname 'Meme' tattooed on his arm.
The US Track and Field website also credits Kerley's aunt for her generosity and sacrifices. "His aunt is the most influential person in his life...She would sometimes go without food to make sure the children ate...He makes sure he speaks to his aunt every day," notes the website. It was also Kerley's family who urged him to focus on track, by participating in his college team. "Got in trouble with the law and narrowly avoided jail time as a teen," the bio reveals about Kerley's childhood, adding that during his sophomore year of college, the sprinter tore his quad during a race."
Kerley, who is reportedly of "Ghana and Congo descent", loves spending time with "younger athletes in hopes of inspiring and motivating them." In school, he used to be a "three-sport athlete" - expert in football, basketball as well as track and field. Kerley also has a son of his own, and his legacy has seen success in the form of several titles to his name such as the 2017 NCAA indoor and outdoor 400m champion, with a record of 43.70 at the West Preliminary meet in Austin. Kerley's most passionate hobbies are reportedly "sleeping, cooking and shopping."