Wednesday, June 12, 2019

GB sprinter Jodie Williams on happiness, independence, hiking and coffee

Jodie Williams loves coffee. So much so, in fact, that she lives next door to a cafe and on her personal website lists all the coffee shops she has visited. The tally is currently 71.
"I used to drink flat whites, but now have it straight. I'm more refined now," says the British sprinter, whose home for the past four years has been Phoenix, Arizona.
Her coffee appreciation is a pastime she squeezes into a busy weekly training schedule she is happy to help draw up. And this greater autonomy has provided contentment for the 25-year-old after the thrilling highs and frustrating lows of her early career.Before Dina Asher-Smith broke through, it was Williams who was marked out as the Briton bound for big things.
A precocious junior talent, she was unbeaten over 151 races between 2005 and 2010, won double sprint gold at the World Youth Championships in 2009 and followed that up with 100m gold at the World Junior Championships. Graduation to senior international titles was widely expected, but did not materialise. A hamstring problem before the London Olympics in 2012 was the first major setback, and although she won European and Commonwealth 200m silvers two years later, further injuries soon intervened.
At a loss to explain her misfortune and contemplating quitting, in 2015 Williams decided she needed a big change - so she moved 5,000 miles away to the 'Valley of the Sun' to work under Stuart McMillan, a British-born Canadian she had known since 2012 and who has coached her team-mate CJ Ujah and Canadian Andre de Grasse.
"I went to visit his camp for 10 days and that was pretty much it," she says.
"I gradually spent more and more time and before I knew it I had an apartment. Stu stripped away everything I learnt and we started again - I have a decent working relationship with him and it's gone on from there."
McMillan, she says, allowed her to provide her own input to the training programme. He does not have a say as to where Williams should go for her next coffee fix, but does provide suggestions for one of her other pursuits - the "midweek hike".