Best Local Girl Made Good Miami 2014 - Lauryn Williams
"I didn't come here to make history," Lauryn Williams told the NBC crew in Sochi, Russia. But the silver medal gleaming around her neck told a different story. It's a tale of speed, transition, perseverance, and — yes — ultimately, of history. The Pittsburgh native came to South Florida in 2001 to run track at the University of Miami. She is just five-foot-three, but — as competitors on the field soon learned — there's a nuclear power plant's worth of energy stored within her. Williams turned her collegiate career into a shot at the Olympics and, just after graduating in 2004, snagged a silver medal in Athens in the 100-meter dash. Eight years later in London, she added a gold medal to her collection as a member of the four-by-100-meter relay team. And then a curious thing happened. In the airport on the way to a track meet, a fellow star mentioned a curious idea to Williams: The Winter Games were coming up. Why not give bobsledding a try? Sure enough, after just six months of training, Williams' sheer power earned her the job of brakeman on a qualifying team. And on the course at Sochi, her sled nabbed second place, earning her another silver medal. In the process, the pride of Coral Gables became the first American woman ever to medal at both the Summer and Winter games. But as the soft-spoken speedster told NBC, all that was subtext to the thrill of competing — and winning — at a new sport. "Making the history part is just an extra bonus," she said with a grin.