FORMER US Olympian Lauryn Williams said she always had a desire to help the country of her origin as she wants to assist athletes reach their fullest potential.
Williams, born to a Tobagonian father and American mother in the US, is currently in TT working with young athletes, passing on her knowledge and experience.
Now 35, she has won multiple Olympic and World Championship medals. She won gold in the 100m at the 2005 World Championships and silver at the 2004 Summer Olympics, 2007 World Championships, and 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Williams switched focus to the Winter Olympics and won a silver medal in the two-woman bobsleigh at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She is the first American woman to win medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
Williams said she always wanted to give back to TT. “The reason I came to Trinidad was because I have been doing a lot of thinking about my Caribbean roots and how I can give back, not just how I can give back to the US, because I am very involved in the US Committee and I am running my own business as well.”
Her company Worth Winning offers services to athletes and young professionals, giving answers to financial questions.
Despite her athletic accomplishments Williams says she has not fulfilled her maximum potential.
“I am still working hard to get a business off the ground, I am still working hard to build a relationship with the US Olympic Committee so that I could give back to the next generation of athletes coming up.”
Williams wants to help TT advance in sport.
“If Trinidad would have me and accept that I love that I have those roots inside me, despite not being raised here, I would love to give the things that I know, the resources that I have, back to you so that we could continue to move the sport industry forward in this country as well. I am here because I want to be a resource, and I am happy to do whatever I can to take you guys to the next level as long as you want it.”
The former Olympian encouraged young TT athletes, at the TT Olympic House, yesterday, not to let obstacles in life deter them from achieving what they want, saying she did not always have all the resources.
“People think that I was given a lot, but really what you’re given is inside of you, so my Trinidadian roots are inside of me, and the things that you get because of who you are naturally on the inside is what you have been given. In America, I did not have a bunch more resources than you guys have here in Trinidad.”
Williams said she did not always have quality gear and equipment, but that did not prevent her from reaching for the stars.
“I started initially running club track...people would have to donate their old shoes for me to have a pair of shoes to run in. You get out to the track (and) you run in whatever shoes you have – sometimes it was basketball shoes on the track. You start from nothing, but you use what is inside of you, and that is what drives you initially to get you going.
“So instead of focusing on the obstacles and what is not available, we need to focus on what we do have, and what we do have is already inside of us. Even if you go to the track every day barefoot does not mean you cannot succeed.”
Williams also gave copies of her 2019 book The Oval Office – A four-time Olympian’s Guide to Professional Track and Field to members of the media. In it she shares advice for winning on and off the track from her perspective both as an Olympic athlete and as a certified financial planner. The Oval Office aims to help athletes understand sponsorships and contracts, optimise earnings and savings and branding yourself.
In the book Williams writes, “This book is dedicated to my dad, David Williams, who taught me the art of being resourceful and how to show up and perform at critical moments.”