Retired track and field coach reflects on Olympics

August 5, 2016

 

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Olympics is a special event that comes every four years and is something many athletes dream about and train for all of their lives.

 

Hattiesburg native and former Golden Eagle track star, Tori Bowie will be competing this year in the 100 and 200-meter race in the Olympics.

 

Wayne Williams, retired track and field coach said, "Right now she's one of my favorites for medals at these Olympic Games. She's a very, very fine outstanding athlete. I really look for her to be a medal contender."

 

Williams did not get a chance to coach Bowie, as she finished her collegiate track career right before he arrived as the university's new track and field head coach.

 

"To have an Olympian that's been a part of your school and your community, it really generates excitement for the sport," said Williams.

 

Williams is no stranger to Olympic track and field athletes, as he coached 29 Roll Tide athletes that went on to compete in the Olympics during his time as an assistant coach for the University of Alabama.

 

"It says to me that I've been very fortunate in my coaching career to have been able to have these kind of athletes and have them to do well in their sport," said Williams.

 

Williams went to the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1996 one in Atlanta.

 

But, one was more memorable than the other.

 

"The experience for me for 84 was tremendous. There was 11 athletes there that I was personally involved with from the University of Alabama. The thing that stands out the most to me is on Sunday afternoon, when you're having the last events, two of my athletes, the girl Lillie Leatherwood, won a gold medal. Then 45 minutes later, my male athlete, named Calvin Smith, won his gold medal. And to me that was pretty exciting," said Williams.

 

Both Leatherwood and Smith set world records.

 

Now we just have to see if Bowie can take gold and set a new world record.

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