Olympic Silver Medalist in the 100- meter dash Lauryn Williams is running in the Hurricane Alumni Invitational scheduled for Apr. 17. She likes to run in track meets in Miami so her friends can see her race, because most of the time they only can watch her on television.
Williams became a household name in 2004, when she was a senior at the University of Miami and she was determined to win the national championship. She trained hard, won races and along the way people took notice.
“I ran the second fastest time in the world and people started talking about me for the Olympics,” she said.
She made it to the Olympics, running fast enough to win the Silver.
In 2005, she went to the World Championships in Helsinki and won the Gold Medal. She took the Silver at the Osaka World Championship in 2007. Williams went back to the Olympics in 2008 and came in fourth place.
Now Williams wants another shot at Gold at the 2011 World Championship and the 2012 Olympics. To get there, she’s training six days a weeks at the University of Miami.
This year, she’s raced in the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden, where she came in second in the 100 meters and the New Balance Grand Prix Games in Boston where she came in first in the 60 meters.
Williams said her biggest challenge as she trains is to make sure she pays attention to the details.
“And not losing focus,” she said. “And making the most out of each practice.”
Mondays are acceleration days. She works on coming out of the blocks cleanly and quickly. Tuesdays she works on form and Wednesdays are endurance days. Thursdays are days off from the track, but filled with appointments for massages and rehab. Fridays she’s back to acceleration and Saturdays are all about speed and endurance.
In racing, some people come out of the blocks quickly and then hold on to win. Others aren’t as fast off the mark but they finish fast.
“I’ve been known as a pretty good starter and a hold-on kind of person,” Williams said. “I get on the line and I compete my heart out.”
The outlook for medals at the coming World Championships and next year’s Olympics for Team USA look good.
“Team USA is strong,” she said. “We have a lot of depth.”
In fact, she said making Team USA is the hardest part of the Olympic journey.
“The idea of being left at home is what pushes you,” Williams said.
Along the way, one of her concerns was finishing sports and having to look for a job without work experience. It’s not so easy, even with an MBA. But that no longer is a problem for her. She works for UM teaching athletes life skills and as a Community Relations Coordinator.
In the life skills part of her job, Williams helps athletes become well-rounded individuals who are ready for life after college sports. She makes sure they are prepared to go out into the world and make it on their own.
She also sets up community service activities for UM athletes. Recently, for the ACC Community Service Week, she arranged for the athletes to go to the Miami Rescue Mission and serve the homeless.