In celebration of Black History Month, HurricaneSports.com will highlight several African-American student-athletes that left their mark on the University of Miami. Our second profile focuses on Lauryn Williams, who went from standout track star at UM to Olympic champion.
Lauryn Williams is one of the fastest women in the world.
Standing just 5-foot-3, Williams is far from an imposing figure. But the diminutive sprinter has blown past her competition on the track for years.
The Rochester, Pa., native came to Miami to run under the tutelage of legendary coach Amy Deem, and Williams left "The U" as one of the most decorated track and field athletes in school history. A nine-time All-American, Williams won the NCAA National Championship in the 100-meter dash in 2004.
Following her stellar collegiate career, Williams' success continued on an international level, representing the United States at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
In 2004, Williams was not only the NCAA Champion. She held the fastest legal-wind time by an American at 10.97 second (the second-fastest time in the world that year), was named the 2004 BIG EAST Most Outstanding Track Performer and honored as the 2004 Athlete of the Year by the Sports Council.
Most recently, Williams was part of the USA women's 4x100m relay team that won gold at the 2012 London Olympics. She also won a silver medal in the women's 100m dash at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Williams is also a three-time world champion, taking gold in the 100m in 2005 and winning gold with her 4x100 relay team in 2005 and 2007. She also won a silver medal in the 100m at the 2007 world championships.
After dominating her sport for half a decade, Williams stepped away from competitive athletics in 2010. She felt a need to refocus and regroup, so she returned to her alma mater and worked in Miami's athletic department counseling student-athletes.
But the fierce competitor could not stay away from the sport she loved for long. Williams began training with Deem again and ended up realizing her goal of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. She then took things a step further and helped win a gold medal for the United States.
Williams is still active in track and field, but she also dedicates herself to helping others. The 29-year-old spends time providing community outreach services as part of USA Track and Field's "Be a Champion" program and she volunteers at a local community center in her hometown.