10 Questions for U S Nationals champion Joe Williams

By John Fuller | June 06, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
JOE WILLIAMS 2002-03 Team USA Ranking: No. 1 at 74 kg/163 lbs. Years on Team USA: 5 (1999-2004) Residence: Coralville, Iowa Club: Sunkist Kids College: Univ. of Iowa High School: Chicago, Ill. (Mt. Carmel) Born: November 26, 1974 in Bue Island, Ill. Height: 5-9 1. Ever since 2000, you have completely controlled your weight class. What has been the key to your success during that time? Williams: Working in my area of concentration. Areas that I need to improve in. 2. Do the losses of 2000 to Brandon Slay still linger in your mind at all? Williams: Any of my matches that I have lost in the past linger in my mind. I think if you can take a loss and learn from it, you're going to get better and that's what wrestling is all about. Getting better. 3. Watching him win an Olympic gold medal had to be difficult for you. Does the feeling of "that should have been me" ever enter your mind? Williams: No. I just worry about myself and what I need to do. 4. You captured a bronze medal in the 2001 World Championships, but were unable to compete in last year's event even though you were favored by many to win gold. Do you feel as though you are the best in the world right now? Williams: Yes. 5. How much did it hurt to not be able to compete in the 2002 World Championships? Williams: It hurt me a lot, but I'm sure my time will come. And when it does, I'm sure it will be very special. 6. In the finals of the U.S. Nationals, Joe Heskett took a lead on you with an exposure point in the first period. Did you expect such a tough battle from a young wrestler like him? Williams: I try not to worry about how old, how young or how talented a person is. I just go out and do what is best for me. 7. A lot of guys who are training at colleges or universities don't have a very diverse selection of quality workout partners, but you have numerous individuals who you can work out with on a daily basis that help you to improve. Do you feel that is a good situation to be in? Williams: Yes, but good workout partners do not make you a champion. It's what you do with those partners. How you train. 8. Without the World Championships for the U.S. last year, how important did that make events such as the Kurt Angle Classic and the Titan Games? Williams: Very important! You can never get too many international matches in. 9. Ultimately, do you want to be a head wrestling coach at the collegiate level? Williams: Yes. 10. This past year, you lost your brother Steve. How much of an inspiration was he to you throughout your life and career? Williams: A lot. He has always been there to cheer me on, so not having him around has been difficult to handle. I think about him all the time.