Podcast Olympic Series: Toni-Ann Williams historic journey


Guest: Toni-Ann Williams OLY


Toni-Ann Williams is the first gymnast to represent Jamaica at an Olympic Games when competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Toni-Ann is also a four-time World Championship competitor and a Pan-American Games competitor. She also a two-time National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches / Women (NACGC/W)West Region Gymnast of the Year.

In this episode, Toni-Ann discusses her historical journey. The Olympians shares her emotions when she learnt she had qualified to represent Jamaica at the Rio 2016 Summer Games. She also speaks about family’s support in her athletic journey especially her mom’s level of involvement in her achievements.

Toni-Ann also discusses:

  1. Her decision at age 15 to compete for Jamaica even though she was born in Jamaica. 
  2. Wanting to use her success and Olympic qualification to inspire a new generation of gymnasts in Jamaica. 
  3. The support from other Jamaican athletes at Rio 2016. 
  4. How she balanced competing for Jamaica and at the collegiate level at the University of California, Berkeley simultaneously. 
  5. Her recovery and motivation to persevere from six major injuries and five surgeries throughout her career.

Toni-Ann also speaks about representing Jamaica at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru and how she managed to compete just six months after surgery on her Achilles. She shares how she felt about the success of her teammates including Danusia Francis and the camaraderie that they share. She also speaks about how the pandemic has affected her plans for the future in terms of competitive gymnastics.

Other topics discussed are:

  1. Her continuous preparation for the upcoming international games. 
  2. Her Jamaican heritage and how she continues to feel close to her Jamaican culture. 
  3. Ways that she has given back to Jamaica’s gymnast scene over the years and her plans for working with young gymnasts in the future. 
  4. Her experience as a coach so far at United Gymnastix and Towson University.
  5. Top and lowest moments as a gymnast. 
  6. How she stays motivated as a competitor and maintains a positive mindset.
  7. Advice for young Jamaican gymnasts.
  8. Her advocacy on raising awareness of racial discrimination and diversity in gymnastics. 
  9. Abuse of athletes in the sport and the need for continued advocacy for the protection of youth in sports

Connect with Toni on:

You can listen to The Drive Phase on any podcast directory. Here are a few:

Stitcher Podcast
Apple Podcast
Google Podcast

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