Olympia 2021: Lily Williams and her meteoric rise to the climax with the Olympic selection


Olympics – Yolo BedTime

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The postponement of the Olympic Games in Tokyo is a blessing for newcomer Lily Williams.

When her U.S. teammates drove to a silver medal in the team pursuit at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Williams was just taking her first few pedals in cycling. It would be two years before she discovered track cycling and became part of the Olympic multi-rider project.

By postponing it by one year, the 26-year-old was able to drastically expand her experience on the track.

“The year delay from COVID was really good for me because I’ve now effectively doubled my exercise time,” Williams told VeloNews. “I had no distractions and only trained to make it to the Olympic team. That is my only goal. I feel really happy. “

Also read: Up-and-coming star Lily Williams takes a multidisciplinary approach to racing

After initially testing herself in cyclocross and then switching to road racing – where she now rides with rally cycling – Williams made her first forays into track cycling in the winter of 2018-2019. Since then, she’s been dividing her time between the sidewalk and the boards.

However, stopping many street events in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic gave her a chance to really focus on team chasing.

“I only work with the national coaches. Before that, I had a self-employed road coach. Now that I don’t drive that much on the road, I only train route-specific. My volume has skyrocketed and my training load has really increased. My track time has really increased, ”said Williams.

“I’ve probably spent more time on the track this year than anyone else in the long team. I think all of this has really helped me improve. “

Lily Williams (left) didn’t start racing on the track until 2019 Photo: Maja Hitji / Getty Images

Williams stormed to success in cycling and won her first team pursuit world title just a year after she first stepped on the boards. However, her appearance at the highest level does not come completely out of the blue.

Before switching to cycling, Williams was an accomplished runner in high school and college. Her experience in training for certain events and the physical characteristics associated with them have given her something to build on.

“People tell me I’m so happy that I could ride a good bike that fast, but I’ve been an endurance athlete for most of my life,” Williams told VeloNews. “It’s not that I just picked something up and started with it. But at the same time, I’m lucky enough to be able to switch to all of these cycling disciplines and achieve some success. Every one of my track successes has to be attributed to Gary Sutton, our trainer. “

Running background fits perfectly on boards

Especially in the team pursuit, Williams was able to fall back on her experience as a runner, where she specialized in the middle distance. The short but sharp exertion required for the discipline is perfect for its already well developed skills.

“Before that, I was a runner for almost a decade. I ran in Uni Division 1 and my specialty was the 1,500 m, so I’m used to doing a four-minute run. When I started cycling, I didn’t know anything about cycling. I only knew road racing because I’d seen it grow up, ”said Williams.

“When I learned what a track was, I thought, ‘Oh, there’s a four-minute event, that’s interesting.’ If you look at the physiological side, it is certainly the event that I am best suited to. My five-minute power is really good. I’m not a great sprinter, but neither do I have incredible 20-minute power. It’s right in my sweet spot. “

After several dominant performances since the silver medal in Rio, expectations of the USA chasing team will be high.

Also read: Team dedicates the Berlin World Cup medal to Kelly Catlin

The battle for places is tough, as nine drivers have automatically secured a nomination for the long team, but Williams’ participation in the gold medal at the World Championships in Berlin last year gives her the confidence to secure a place.

For Williams, this year’s Olympic Games are more than just a sporting spectacle. After nearly two years of strict coronavirus restrictions on so many around the world, it will be a possibility for many people.

“It’s really important that the Olympics take place. Of course, I am personally invested, but I think as long as there is a safe production of the Olympics it should be, ”she said. “You open the news and there is so much [stuff is] Event. We need something positive and that really shouldn’t be underestimated.

“I think the Olympics are definitely a political event for me, but I think, especially this year with COVID, the Olympics are a great opportunity to demonstrate international unity.”

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