Lauryn Williams, the former UM track star who medaled at the 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics, left her mark in a very different sport on Wednesday.
Williams’ elite athleticism was on full display as she took home a silver medal for Team USA in the two-woman bobsled. With her performance in Sochi, Williams became just the fifth Olympian in history to medal in both the Summer and Winter Games.
“I didn’t come here to make history,” Williams said after Wednesday’s races. “I came here to help Team USA, and I feel like I did the best I could. I’m just happy to be here, and it wasn’t about history for me.”
She and her partner, fellow American Elana Meyers, were in position to win gold through three of the four bobsled heats. They took a 0.11 second lead over Canada into the fourth leg, but ended up 0.21 seconds behind Kallie Humphries and Heather Moyse.
Williams (Miami class of 2004) took up bobsled a mere six months ago, attempting to add to her silver medal in the 100m track event at the 2004 Athens Olympics and her gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the 2012 London Olympics.
“I feel like I am in the presence of Jesse Owens when I look at Lauryn Williams,” said Lolo Jones, another American who started her career as a track runner before making a recent transition to bobsled. “I was so emotionally choked up. She just broke history, and I can’t believe it. It’s just awesome. I hope she’s a household name when we get home, because it’s just the most brilliant thing I’ve ever watched.”
Had Williams won gold, she would have become the first woman in history to claim gold medals at the Summer and Winter Olympics. The only man to achieve the elusive feat was American Eddie Eagan, the 1920 gold medalist in boxing and 1932 four-man bobsled champion.
Spencer Dandes may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.