No ‘off’ year for Lauryn Williams

This is a rare “off” year for Lauryn Williams. But that doesn’t mean she’s taking time off.

In the cycle of the international track and field competition calendar, 2010 is a year with no Olympics or world championships. Williams, a Rochester High School graduate and 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the 100-meter dash, hasn’t competed all year and likely will not compete at all or do so on a limited basis.

“Why would you want to play the other 17 games if there’s no Super Bowl at the end?” said Williams via phone earlier this week. “I think there’s value in letting your body recuperate.

“They always say work smart instead of working hard as you get older. You know what your body can take. I don’t have to worry about being fast right now.”

Williams, 26, is using the time to continue her training and refine some of the nuances in her running. She’s working on correcting what she calls “an ugly arm” in her form, hoping to shave even a fraction off her time.

She’s also getting the chance to do a few more appearances. She said she gets anywhere from five to 15 requests per month to appear at various events to promote track and field. In a regular competition year, she’s not able to fulfill most of those requests. Now, she has more time.

She spent Wednesday at the U.S. Olympic headquarters in Colorado Springs as part of the Athlete Ambassador Program, a coalition of athletes and other personalities that promotes drug-free competition.

“We just want a level playing field,” said Williams, the 2005 100-meter world champion. “Not just for ourselves, but for the fans.”

In 2011, with a world championship meet on the calendar, Williams will again ramp up her training. The following year will be the Olympic Games in London. By then Williams will be just a month short of her 29th birthday, up in years by sprinter’s standards.

But don’t be surprised if Rochester’s favorite daughter is representing the USA for a third time.

“I’ll be ready for 2012,” she said.

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