Lattany is regarded as arguably the fastest athlete in Glynn County sports history and was considered one of the world’s most dominant sprinters during a stellar career on the track in the 1980s. One panel of experts once ranked him one of the six fastest sprinters of all-time.
Lattany excelled in both football and track at Glynn Academy in the late 1970s. He won the state Class AAAA 100-yard dash in 1976 in a state-record tying time of 9.6 seconds and also won the state 220 in 21.5. Lattany won the state high point trophy in his senior year of 1977, again taking both the 100 and 220 dashes.
Lattany then went on to an All-America track career at the University of Georgia where he established several individual and team records. He established a new Men’s Junior World Record over 100 meters on July 30, 1978. As a sophomore at Georgia, Lattany’s sprint of 20.28 in the 200 earned him the ranking as the sixth best sprinter in the world. He set the Southeastern Conference record for a 60-yard dash with a mark of 6.14 seconds.
His third place finish at the 1980 U.S. Olympic trials in the 100 led to his selection to a spot in the event and also a spot on the U.S. 4x100 relay team along with Carl Lewis, Stanley Floyd and Harvey Glance. However, all U.S. athletes were held from the Moscow competition that year by President Jimmy Carter due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The U.S. relay team featuring Lewis and the three SEC sprinters was considered the favorite to win the gold medal.
Lattany finished second to Lewis by just 0.07 seconds in the 100 at the 1981 NCAA meet. He won a gold medal over 100 meters at the 1981 Summer Universiade and won gold over 200 meters at the 1981 International Association of Athletic Federations World Cup. On May 5, 1984, Lattany became only the fifth man (second at sea-level) to break the 10-second barrier when he clocked 9.96 seconds in the 100 in Athens, Greece.
An injury prevented Lattany from competing at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He was awarded a spot as an alternate for the U.S. 4x100 relay team which won the gold medal and he did receive a medal for his presence on the team.
Lattany retired from track in 1985 and pursued a pro football career, signing a free-agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys as a wide receiver. However, he never played in the NFL, and in 1987 was reinstated by the IAAF to run track again.