Sports

SILVER: Williams wins second place in Olympic

America’s next great female sprinter might be former Hurricane Lauryn Williams, who shocked the Olympic-viewing world by winning a silver medal in the 100-meter event in Athens, Greece.

Williams, who will turn 21 in September, finished with a personal-best time of 10.96 seconds in the final race, ending up .03 behind Belarus’ Yuliya Nesterenko, who is ranked third in the world. Williams became the first Hurricane women’s track athlete to medal at the Olympics.

“My performance was good,” Williams said. “I had a good start and I think the finish was good enough. I felt Veronica [Campbell of Jamaica, the third-place finisher] on my shoulder. I didn’t want to be third by a hair. It worked for me.”

Williams turned professional shortly after qualifying at the Trials with a third-place finish, beating out famous sprinter Marion Jones for a spot in the event. She has now won six medals while representing the United States in international competition, taking gold in the 100-meters and 4×100-meter relay at the 2003 Pan American Games, a silver medal in the 4×100-meter relay at the 2003 World Championships, gold in the 100-meters at the 2002 World Junior Championships and silver in the 4×100 at the same event.

Williams said she was slightly disappointed by not winning her first gold medal.

“It feels great,” she said. “I’m a silver medallist with a personal best. I do have some mixed feelings because I would have liked the gold.”

The only setback for Williams came during the 4×100-meter relay finals when she was unable to receive the baton from Jones within the required 20-meter handoff zone, resulting in an automatic disqualification. However, Williams will leave Athens as the youngest sprinter in 32 years to medal in the 100-meters.

To add to the pressure of competing in the Olympics, Williams’ father, David, underwent dialysis treatment and had to miss her second-round heat. He was diagnosed with leukemia, which led to kidney problems, when Williams was a child living in Detroit.

When Williams qualified for the Olympics, her father set up the “Williams Family Greece Fund,” designed to raise money so her family could afford to see Williams compete in the race of her life. Thanks to a $10,000 donation by Tim Wiebe, a Pittsburgh rehabilitation equipment company owner, the Williams family was able to be in Athens for the entire Olympics.

Williams told ESPN.com that it was very important for her father to be in Greece with her and that she was “running for him.”

Williams was not the only Hurricane competing in Athens this year. Volunteer assistant track coach Debbie Ferguson won a bronze medal in the 200-meters while competing for the Bahamas, Davian Clarke anchored the Jamaican 4×400-meter relay team but failed to match his bronze medal in the 1996 Olympics and Kyle Prandi qualified for the men’s synchronized platform diving event but did not medal.

As for Williams, she is 15 credits short of a degree in finance at UM but will likely spend the next few months trying to land endorsement deals and beginning her quest for gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Williams was able to make the University of Miami proud in Athens, and in the midst of all the controversy surrounding the U.S. track and field program, she just might be the breath of fresh air the sport desperately needed.

Eric Kalis can be contacted at e.kalis@umiami.edu.

August 31, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever on Wednesday: Come the Sept. ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Jesus Luzardo had yet to throw a single pitch as a professional baseball player in 2016 when he unde ...

Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Robert Marve has been arrested in Hillsborough County on an out- ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced the 2018-19 schedule, featuring nine tourn ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.