SportsEliteMag.com

Interview With Super Woman Tiffany Ross Williams 400 Meter Hurdler

Tiffany what name do you go by?
Tiffany Williams
What year were you born?
1983
What High School did you attend and what year did you graduate from high school.
I attended Miami North West Senior High and I graduated in 2001.
Do you have any siblings?
Yes
What college did you attend and why did you choose that college over other offers?

I attended the University of South Carolina Game Cocks and graduated in 2005.

Did you have other offers before you chosed The Game Cocks?

I had a lot of offers but I had to narrow it down to five college visits. My official visits were University of Miami, University of Alabama, University of Florida and my last offer was LSU which I declined to visit.

What was the reason that you selected South Carolina over the other schools that were interested in recruiting you?

When I went to South Carolina, I really felt that I bonded with the team. They were family and team oriented. A team that’s close to God for women. We were under one program. When I went there I felt that this was where I was supposed to be. I felt at home. I enjoyed my visit and I had a good time. I guess that’s the place where God wanted me to be, so that’s why I chosed the University of South Carolina.

What is your earliest memory of participating in Track/Field?

My earliest memory of Track/Field would have to be when I first started running at the age of twelve and to be able to travel to different cities throughout the United States. Running in the Junior Olympics with Miami North West Express Track Club and running with Bat Man another professional runner. We are the two people that went professional from this track club.
My youngest memories were going out to the Junior Olympics at the age of twelve to represent Miami North West Express Track Club and the relationships that I built there, my friends that I ran track with when I was twelve years old, we are still friends today.

What are the differences in participating in a high school level, collegiate and professional?

High school and college are similar because you are under a system where you are running for a team to score points to win a State Championship or a National Championship, so you run a lot of weekends. Such as 100 meter hurdles, 300 meter hurdles, long jump, triple jump and the 4 by 4.
When I went to college it was a similar system. I ran the 100 meter hurdles, 400 meter hurdles, the 4 by 1 and the 4 by 4. So in college and high school it’s more of a team oriented where you’re running to score points for your team. The goal is to win a State Championship.
When you are a professional it’s more individualized; accept when you get on the level of World Championships and Olympic Games, then you are on a team. But up until then, you are running for yourself and representing whatever sponsor you have. So, that would be the major difference and when you are professional, you only run one race, unless you have a series of event like the 100 meters and 200 meters. But for me I run only the 400 meter hurdles.

When did you discover that you were good at your craft and knew that you could perform on an elite level?

I’ve always been good but I started to take track seriously right before I entered high School. Then, I thought that one day I could be an Olympian. When I started running track I was twelve. At thirteen or fourteen, I realized that this is something that I am really good at. However, I started running track because my god sister ran track and I would go to practice with her every day. So the coach at Miami North West Express Track Club said since you’re out here every day, why don’t you race some of these girls out here. So I got on the line and I started in lane 8 and I finished in lane 1 because I knew nothing about racing. So everyone wanted to beat me up because I cut them off, but I did win. So that’s when Coach recognized the talent and said this is something that you need to do. He told me to keep coming every day.

What was it like competing in your first Olympics Games?

It was a very good experience to be able to run for my country in the Olympics. That’s kind of every athletes track/field dream. I think I kind of appreciate it a little more. I can look back and say oh my God, I was in the Olympics. When I was there I don’t think that I seized the moment as much as I should have. I was kind of hurt. I hurt my shoulders, like a week before the race. I had a lot of pain in my shoulders and I was also sick. So, I didn’t have my best performance at the Olympic Games, but I was a finalist and I was 8th. You know it is something for me to be appreciative of that I was in the Olympics and to be able to keep working hard and to get back because I want that Gold Medal. That is my goal.

What was your proudest moment in competing in the Olympic Games and who was your role model in Track/Field?

My role model was Melissa Morfin, she trained at the University South Carolina where I attended school. She was a 2 time Silver Medalist in the 100 and 300 hurdles. The reason that she was my role model was not only because she was out there and we saw her train every day but she is kind of similar to me, she’s short, she’s strong but she is powerful and she fast and she’s a beast. Some of the people who look at me say oh my god, she is so little. I don’t feel that I am little. But I guess I am. They say she’s only 5’ 2” and she has to jump the hurdles. The size really doesn’t matter it’s the fight. I am strong, I am powerful and I am fast.

What do you know about Florence Griffith Joiner (Flow Jo)?
I know that Flo Jo is the current 100 meter world record holder. Not only was she fast and an athlete, she was beautiful and that’s something that I really take pride in when I go to my track meets. It’s not all about the looks. But I like to look beautiful. I like to be pretty and put on my make-up. Flo Jo is the first person who started the beauty in track/field.

I am glad that you girls have picked up where she has left off. It is good to see our beautiful black women out there doing their thing and looking beautiful while running. I am pleased that you girls are really taking good care of yourself and representing the black women in a positive way.

I understand that you are married. What is your husband name and how long have you’ve been married.

My husband name is Deon Williams; I met him while attending the University of South Carolina. We have been married since 2005. We’ve been together 10 years now.

Do you have any children and if so what are their names and how old are they?
Yes, we have 2 children, Tramiya and she is 7 years old; she is our oldest child. And we have a 1 year old shamiya.

Tiffany, is your older daughter running track?

Samiya says that she wants to run track but I’ve been running track since I was 12, that’s a long time and I have seen a lot of athletes that start running when they are so young and they get burned out. I don’t want that to happen to her. She says that she wants to run but I want her to wait a few years. When she gets 11 or 12 and says Mommy I want to run; then I will let her run. But right now, I think that she’s too young. I think that there are other things that she could be doing. She dances at the church and she sings. I think this is the time that she should be having fun and not running. I just want her to wait.

How do you manage family life with your professional life as an athlete?

Well, both are very important to me, I just try to balance everything. On the job people have a strong support system; my husband helps me out a lot with the girls. When I’m at the track then I’m at the track, I am focus, even though my daughter comes to practice with me but my husband is there to watch my daughter while I focus on my track and when I come home it’s all about my family and to make sure that they are well taking care of. It’s all about balancing. When I am home I try not to take track home. I just try to focus on my kids and my husband and that is my priority. When I am at track it’s about getting my work in and working hard because at the end of the day that’s my job. I just try to separate the two to make sure that I am not unbalance. I have a strong support system that helps me out, so I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.

Being a mother, how difficult is it to make a comeback after giving birth to your
Children?

Well, I would say that I didn’t notice how difficult it is, because, it is difficult. When I had Samiya, I was in college and in the college system, you run so many races that you are going to get back into shape; it’s easier to get back to where you were. However, when you have a baby and you are not in college and you are a professional and you have only 1 race a week; it’s much harder, because, your body has been down for 9 months. You have to come back after 9 months of being pregnant and giving birth and try to pick up where you left off and it’s not the easiest thing to do. I have seen some people do it just like that and be right back. But for me, it took me a whole year to come back. So now, this year, I am back. I am strong, powerful, I am faster than I was and I am stronger than I was. I am back. But it did take me a whole year, it was hard and last year, I kind of questioned myself, is this what I am supposed to be doing. God answered, yes, this is what you are supposed to be doing; so, it was not easy but I fought through the pain. I had so many people encouraging me, my family, my friends and my husband saying just stick it out, you are going to be okay. You just have to get your body back to where you were before you had Niya. And now the pendulum has fallen the other way and I am back.

You know, you sound like the Six Million Dollar Women. We Can Do It.
When making this comeback who was your biggest support?

My biggest support would to be my family, my husband and my coach. Because they have stuck by me through thick and through thin. They never gave up on me. Never said, okay, you need to quit, you are not going to be able to come back. It was just all encouragement, my husband said you are going to be okay, just keep pressing, just keep working. He said, this year is going to help you for next year and that is exactly how it was set up; last year, I struggled after giving birth to my daughter, but this year I am back, it’s like I haven’t skipped a beat. I am working harder and I have such a drive and a determination to get to a higher level. God took what I thought was a bad situation and turned it into motivation for me to work harder, to get back to where I was before I had Niya and know like I said, I am back. I am ready to go on and win and to give my personal best that’s my goal.
Now that the 2012 Summer Olympics is approaching, how have you been competing and when will you slow down on the competition and focus sole on your training?

Wright now I am going to be going into my third race this week. I started off on the 23 or 28th of March. I have it on my website you can go there for the exact date. Then I took two weeks off training and then I ran Florida relays April 6 and then I ran in Miami on April 14 of this week. From there, I will run in the Tom Joiner Track Meet, after that I will start my professional races. Right now these are pre meets. After this I will start my circuit. I will be going to Gunalope, Jamaica and then the Cayman Islands. So, right now I am going to be running a lot of meets. I still train Monday-Wednesday, usually on Thursday I fly out to each meet to compete on the weekend. So about a month before the USA tryouts for the Olympics, I will be sole training. I want have any competition, I will just be training and getting ready to go out for the USA tryouts in London.

What does your diet consist of; your body looks strong?

That’s one thing that I really adapted too, because my husband he’s my strength coach and he told me what I needed to eat; in previous years, I would say yeah, whatever , okay and I would still eat what I wanted to eat. This year it’s has been totally different. I have been listening and adapting to what he wants me to eat and it’s worked; I can feel and see the difference in my body, the definition is there and I can feel the difference in my training and performances. So now I eat no carbs, I try to eat fish and vegetables, chicken and vegetables, beef and vegetables.

I did see your photographs on your web site and that’s a hard body! I tell you that it looks very good; I can tell that you are really training and eating healthy. It’s really paying off and it looks great.

Who are your sponsors?

Right now, I am in the process of working with Adidas and I am working with SRS, which is an Energy Drink Company. Their drinks are amazing.

Being that the 2012 Summer Olympics may be your last time competing in the Olympics, what will you treasure the most?

You know if it is, you know, I never looked at it like that but just the experience, the friendship that I made. I’ve been on so many teams since 2006. The 2006 World Indoor Team, 2007 World Outdoor Team, 2008 World Olympic Team and 2009 World Championship Team. I met some amazing people on the track and off the track. Just to value the friendship that I made, to value the experience because not everyone will make it. I think sometimes, we think that it’s our birth right that I am supposed to be here, I am just supposed to be at the Olympics or at a World Championship. It’s really a blessing because at any given time you cannot be there and that’s what I experience last year for not making the team for my first time. I just always been so comfortable because I have always been on the team for me not to make it was an eye opener experience; look this is not your birth right, this is a blessing from God. Just as sure as I give it to you, I can take it away from you. I have such an appreciation for the talent that God has given me and when I run, I don’t run for myself, I run for God because he has given me the talent. I run for my family and fans because they support me. I run for the people who have been there for me. It’s not all about me; it’s about given God the glory and thanking God and everyone who has supported me.
It is a skill and it’s a blessing. Not too many people can say that they have competed in the Olympics. It is a real Elite Level and I think that I kind of took it for granted. So last year was really an eye opening experience for me to know that you are an Olympian, you’re a 2 time World Championship Hurdler finalist and a number of accolades. I now really appreciate it; now, I am like WOW this is truly amazing and before I kind of said okay I am this. You know, now I look at it in another light, this is something that God has blessed me with accomplishing. I will always remember the moment and each experience to say that you are a 2 time Olympian and a medalist is truly amazing.

That is awesome, now tell me, we know that all of our careers must come to an end have you started preparing yourself to transition from track profession into another profession?

That’s kind of something that I am working on; right now I am just focusing on this year. But this will be the year that we start our business plans and start preparing for life after track. My husband is a personal trainer, he works with me and a few other athletes and I know that he has expirations of opening his own gym. That is something that he has planned. I really want a restaurant. That’s one of my goals. We are both very business minded and that is something that will be in the works this year, that we will be definitely transitioning into.

Tiffany, I do know one thing, you have gained a new fan.

Tiffany SPORTS ELITE would like to thank you for sharing your journey with us. I am quite sure that our young female Track/Field athletes will value the information that you have shared. SPORTS ELITE will be cheering you on.

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