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Columbia Inspired

A Father’s Gift

Jan 10, 2023 04:21PM ● By Bethany Good

Judson Lincoln Jr. is a big supporter of his son, renowned local athlete Judson Lincoln IV. Their special bond has endured many challenges on and off the field. Lincoln Jr. strived to instill essential values like faith, confidence, perseverance, integrity, and a strong work ethic. “I always taught my son that the most important thing is having a good heart,” he says.

Photography by Joshua Whitaker

A Special Bond

Lincoln Jr. and his son have an intense bond that began early on. “Before Judson IV was born, I bonded with him,” he says. Lincoln Jr. and his wife, Dominique, chose to give their son the family name “Judson” because it means “son of praise.” Their faith is a big part of who they are, and they rely on it during difficult times. “Unfortunately, my wife suffered from postpartum depression, so I did my best to support her through those struggles. I remember sleeping with Judson in the crook of my arm.” Because of their different work schedules, Lincoln Jr. often took care of his son during the day. “We were always together,” he says.

Father and son also share a passion for sports. Lincoln Jr. spent his childhood competing as a swimmer, runner, and wrestler, and throughout his life, his love of athletics has continued to grow. So, when Judson was young, Lincoln Jr. saw an opportunity to develop his skills on the field. So he began coaching him in running and basketball.


Lincoln Jr. and his wife, Dominique, are certified track coaches and personal trainers with USA Track & Field (USATF). USATF is the national governing body for track and field, long-distance running, and race walking in the United States. In the Lincoln household, solidarity is a cornerstone of their family dynamic. “We always wanted to support Judson, so we traveled around the country with him for competitions. We are a good team working together.”

Family Values

Lincoln Jr. has a few mottos in life. “Never give up, be the boss, and have the attitude that you can beat  anyone.” Judson has grown up to embody those values. Lincoln Jr. has always encouraged Judson to thank God for his talents and successes before each game or track meet. His faith helps him to be a fierce competitor with the work ethic to back it up. “Something comes over him when he’s on the field. He truly motivates himself.” Judson also believes in being a team player and inspiring others. In his senior year of high school, he set a goal of winning the state championship. “He’s always asking, how can I help the team? He encourages the other athletes to get better.” The young athlete ran relays and helped his teammates practice. Lincoln Jr. recognizes his son’s inner strength and willingness to lead. “He’s a born leader, and he leads by example.

“For us, hard work is a family value.” As a high school athlete, Judson had to learn to balance his impeccable work ethic. “Sometimes, I had to hold him back so he wouldn’t get injured,” Lincoln Jr. said. Judson had to also work hard on his grades. He ended high school with a GPA of 3.8 and a full scholarship to Virginia Tech.

Photography by Joshua Whitaker

Lincoln Jr. has enjoyed watching his son progress on and off the field. “You don’t always get the acclaim you think you deserve. It’s okay to make sacrifices for your child,” he says. He recalls a particular moment when all his hard work and sacrifice came to fruition. “I remember Judson saying to me; ‘you’ll always be my coach, dad.’”

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