U.S. head coach reflects on Youth Olympic Games experience
With great athletes, come great achievements and the coaching required to help even Olympic-sized dreams come true. For U.S. athletes competing at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, head coach Ron Williams was at the helm, and he reflected on his experience of leading young people through a true Games experience.
Williams first met the U.S. team after arriving in Nanjing.
“Everyone had their own training plan and coaches assisted when necessary,” said Williams. “All athletes accepted coaching during competition and practice, which made it great for the entire team.”
Team USA’s track & field athletes, 16 in total, won two gold, and two bronze individual medals in addition to a silver in the mixed 8x100-meter relay.
For Williams, the experience was equally rewarding off the track.
“My takeaways are having the opportunity to lead this team and watch each athlete grow during an experience of the lifetime,” he said. “Working with a great staff, making friends with coaches and athletes from other countries, I can't say enough about the volunteers I have met and their hospitality.”
Above all, he says his proudest moments were “watching the U.S. team on the awards stand in front of thousands of fans.”
Ron Williams is the president of D.C. Express Track Club, Inc., located in Dekalb Country, Georgia. He started his coaching career in 1981 as an assistant coach with the South DeKalb YMCA. That introduction motivated him to start his own track program, D.C. Express Track Club, which he founded in 1984. Williams was also awarded the USA Track & Field National Youth Committee "Frank Sevigne Award" in 1996 for outstanding contribution to Youth Athletics.
Assisting him in Nanjing were assistant coach Norine Richardson and four-time Olympian Aretha Thurmond.