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Defending 400m Hurdles Trials Champ Will Not See London

Anyone who thinks being a professional athlete is all about million-dollar shoe contracts, flying first class and competing all over the world, has never seen a grown woman cry after coming in fourth place at the Olympic Trials.

Tiffany Williams was the defending 2008 USA Olympic Trials Champion in the 400 Meter Hurdles, with a winning time of 54.03. At the Olympic Games in Beijing, Williams finished eighth in the 400 Meter Hurdles final with a time of 57.55.

After multiple injuries, and giving birth to her two daughters, Williams’ performance has steadily declined. “Ever since I came back after my daughter, it’s been so tough. This year I finally felt like I was back, but 55.0 just wasn't good enough today. I used to be able to do 54 seconds with my eyes closed. I did my best. I don't know what I could have done better.” The winning time today was 53.98, second place was 54.33, and third place was 54.81. Williams’ time today was 55.09.

In addition to her Olympic Trials and Olympic Games performances, 29 year old Williams is the 2007 and 2008 USA Outdoor Champion, and she ran a personal best of 53.83 while representing the USA at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. Taking her previous athletic accomplishments into account, Williams knows of two reasons why she was unable to make the team this year: “I think it was physical [from having a baby], mentally I’m fine.”

She also made mention of the challenges she’s faced competing as an unattached athlete with no corporate sponsorship: “I don't have a sponsor. There’s just so many people out in the front who’ve got shoe companies supporting them. I don't. I asked them and they all said ‘no’. I have people who have stepped up to support me. I wasn't just running for myself, I was running for them.”

Though she has no corporate support, as a professional athlete, Williams will continue to compete. “I’m not going to give up. It’s tough, but I’m not going to give up.”

Contributed by Amber James

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