Jodie Williams, photo by PhotoRun.net
This is the story of Jodie Williams, the star junior sprinter, who is now growing up and competing on the senior level. If her race in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games is any indication, Jodie Williams is poised for greatness.
As a writer, I am all about redemption.
Redemption wakes people up to what they are reading. It makes them smile, it makes them cry, it makes them think, and it helps them understand the complicated lives we lead, and how crazy it is to be a human being.
This story is about redemption.
Jodie Williams is, for a fact, one of the finest junior sprinters that England has ever produced. Her medals, her won-loss record, were tremendous.
Then, Jodie grew up. And injuries came. The self doubt that creates, the questions from other athletes, perhaps jealous of her popularity. 2010 World Youth Champion, 2011 World Junior Champion, 2011 European Junior Champion, 100m and 200m.
The list is pretty impressive (from Power of 10 site)
Then, you get injured, just before the Olympics. The questions continue, sponsorship changes. Stories in the newspapers. It all adds up.
How does one keep their composure? How does one keep that light inside alive that says that while you, your coach, your mates and your family may believe, you have to push on.
Going from Junior to Senior athlete status is stressful. The workouts are harder, the pressure is more intense. A new sponsor, adidas, helps get things back on track.
And Jodie Williams grows up a bit, physically and mentally. She runs 11.13 for the 100 meters in Claremont, Florida. It is wind-aided, then another one, an 11.15.
The 200 meters starts looking good, starting with a 22.91. Some hard work, and in Glasgow, on July 12, when the eyes on her, Jodie Williams performs.
In an interview the day before the Glasgow DL, with her manager, Dave Scott nearby, Jodie Williams impresses this writer with her poise, her sense of humor and her physique. I had not seen her since 2012, and did not expect the athlete I met.
Jodie Williams created some positive columns in the British press with her masterful 22.60 for fourth in the 200 meters in the Glasgow DL. It was enough of a positive stroke, and run, to, perhaps inspire her for the Commonwealth Games. Jodie also ran a nice leg on the 4×100 meters in Glasgow DL, which gave her much needed race work.
In the heats, Jodie Williams looked very good.
But, it was the final where she excelled.
Jodie Williams got a pretty good start, but it was her running of the curve, and using that speed to run every so precisely down the straight. Williams came off the turn in sixth, then, fifth, then, fourth, then third, and this writer is saying to himself, “Jesus, Williams is going to get silver! ” For once, my eyes did not deceive me.
Jodie Williams would have made any coach proud. In those last twenty meters, when everyone around her is falling apart, Jodie Williams showed that she is a senior elite athlete, running THROUGH the finish line and dipping perfectly, to take the silver in a fine 22.50 personal best.
As she and Bianca Williams, her team mate, were overcome a bit by their performances and silver and bronze medals for England, this writer smiled.
Yes, Jodie Williams is now a 200 meter racer. And she stood up to the demands of a Senior championship.
Williams reminds me a bit of a young Allyson Felix, but also she seems destined for that 200 meter and 400 meters. Only time will tell about that, but the 200 meter is calling her to run much faster. Her finish, while raw, is dangerous.
If her CG performance does not motivate her to train hard, with consistency, then, nothing will. A silver medal is a big motivator. The transition from junior to elite is about handling the new load, the new stresses and the whole world of athletes one competes with year round. The world of global athletics is an unforgiving one, you are only as good as the performance you give that day, so, make it count.
Her transition from junior athlete to senior athlete is coming along fine. And she is someone to watch out for in Beijing 2015, and Rio 2016, but, really, Tokyo 2020.
Jodie Williams record, prior to CG 2014
Major Games & International Record
2013 – IAAF World championships 200m 4th ht; European Athletics U23 championships 100m silver, 200m gold
2012 – IAAF World Indoor championships 60m 6th sf
2011 – European Athletics Junior championships 100m gold, 200m gold; European Athletics Indoor championships 60m 4th
2010 – IAAF World Junior championships 100m gold, 200m silver
2009 – IAAF World Youth championships 100m gold, 200m gold