Lauryn Williams plays the Games again

In 2004, Williams earned a silver medal in the women’s 100-meter dash at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, but a missed handoff between her and Marion Jones cost the American women a medal in the 4x100 relay. At the 2008 Game in Bejing, another bad handoff, this time with Torri Edwards, disqualified the Americans.

But Williams is back for what could be a third try; she was selected for the relay pool after a sixth-place finish in the 100 at the U.S. Trials last month. The Times’ Chuck Curti caught up with Williams via email from London last week:

Q: Was there ever any doubt in your mind that you would try to make a third Olympic team, or was it a decision you wrestled with a bit?
A: Well I took 2010 off to decide if I would continue to run and chose to continue through 2013.

Q: At the risk of bringing up an unpleasant subject, how much did the “baton incident” from 2008 weigh into your decision if at all?
A: It did not. I find it a little more than ironic that having been a direct part of the botched handoffs of the previous two Games, I find myself on a third (Olympic) team for solely the relay. Talk about a chance at redemption.

Q: Let’s face it, you’re almost 29, and, by track standards, that’s getting up there in years. How realistic did you think it was for you to qualify in the 100 and/or 200?
A: Carmelita Jeter will be 33 this year and is the second-fastest person to exist and currently the favorite to win the women’s 100 meters. I could name four or five others on the Olympic team 30 and over, so I don’t feel limited by my age.

Q: What was your reaction to being picked for the relay pool and describe exactly what your role will be as a member of the pool.
A: I am hoping to be as helpful as those who helped me. ... Even for those who have been in the game for a while but don’t have Olympic experience I want to be a resource to them. The goal is simple: be the best supporting cast member I can be, delight in where I am now and not rush this time away.

Q: What kind of knowledge can you pass on to some of the sprinters who are at the Games for the first time?
A: The main thing is not to get overwhelmed with the pressure and excitement of it all. Do the same things you did to reach this point and you will do just fine. Don’t try to do something extraordinary. Go with what you know works.

Q: After the Games, where does your career go?
A: I have no idea. Just taking life one day at a time. I will finish out the rest of my track season running races until Sept. 9 then I will take some vacation time and decide what’s next.

Q: What do you think of Christa Harmotto, another Beaver County girl, making the Games in volleyball?
A: I don’t know her, but it is great that there is another from our area!

Q: Where do you keep your silver from the Athens Games?
A: My mom has my silver from the 2004 games in London on a mantel.

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