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Olympic Medalist Williams Returns ‘Home’ for 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials

April 11, 2008, 12 a.m. (ET)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ( April 11 2008 ) Most alumni return to their alma mater with stories of their careers, families and successes. Susan Williams, a 1992 graduate of the University of Alabama (UA), will return to Tuscaloosa next week with all of these things, as well as an Olympic medal.

Williams took home the bronze medal for women’s triathlon at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. This year Williams is returning to UA for the U.S. Olympic Trials, this time as the official race announcer, not a competitor.

“I’m thankful to have the opportunity to be involved with the Trials this year in a different manner than the last two Olympic years,” says Williams, who will be working alongside professional triathlete, Wes Hobson, announcing the race to the spectators.

Like any loyal alum, Williams also hopes to meet up with a few teachers, classmates and coaches while in Tuscaloosa.

As a swimming recruit, Williams spent most of her time at UA in the pool, though she also managed to fit in a degree in aerospace engineering. After UA, Williams went on to the University of Colorado at Boulder to earn a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. She completed her first triathlon shortly thereafter in 1994.

“My first race was in Longmont and I think I was second or third in my age group and fourth or fifth overall,” says Williams.

Not too bad for a first timer.

Her natural talent combined with hard work and dedication took Williams all the way to the Olympics in 2004, where she earned a bronze medal.

“I will never forget the sacrifice and hard work it took to get to the Olympics, which makes it all even sweeter,” Williams says. “And of course, my favorite memory is standing on the award stand with my daughter, Sydney.”

Since her bronze at Athens, Williams has moved on to coaching and competing at a lower level. She founded her coaching business, Commitment to Excellence Coaching, in 2004.

“Working with others in a sport I am so passionate about beats sitting at a computer doing engineering work any day,” says Williams of her new career.

Does she wish she were still competing at the Trials? Not really, she says. “Just since having my second daughter I have come to a place in my life where I can honestly say that I am done competing at such a high level,” Williams says. “I’m sure there will be a small part of me that will miss being as fit as those athletes, but I am looking forward to sitting back and watching the excitement unfold.”

By USAT Intern Kirsten Carlson