Aug. 15– Lauryn Williams is always looking for her next adventure.
First, it was track, a first love that took her all the way from high school state championships to the Olympics. When that ended, there was bobsled, an unexpected second love that made her one of six athletes to win a medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.
There’s not another sport coming to sweep her off her feet, at least not that she’s expecting. Now, the 31-year-old Rochester graduate is working a few days a week for Richest Life Planning, a virtual financial planning firm that welcomes clients from across the country.
The firm focuses on helping people in the younger age bracket, and that’s something Williams has discovered a passion for.
“It speaks to me because I think our age group needs financial planning so much,” she said. “Getting them started early will give them the opportunity to give them help down the road.”
And for someone who craves excitement, the new career path has helped fill the void left behind by athletics.
“It’s kind of like a puzzle you have to put together,” Williams said. “Student loans or new marriage in the picture. You’re above entry-level income, but you’re not fully making what you want to make. It’s how to cut your expenses. Do you get Netflix or do you get cable? Every person and every situation is unique.”
Williams would know, since her path has been exactly that. Even the beginning of her career was something special, when she burst onto the scene to make the Olympic team all before her 21st birthday. Her only goal in 2004 was to win the NCAA national championship. She ended up winning silver in the 100-meter dash instead.
“I think I was kind of like a deer in the headlights,” she said. “It was pretty awesome. I went from hoping to win an NCAA championship to being the second-fastest person in the whole world. I could never dream or ask for that.”
She felt more of a sense of responsibility when she went in 2008 and 2012, taking gold with the 400-meter relay team in London in 2012. After that, she thought her athletic career was finished, but a chance meeting with hurdler turned bobsledder Lolo Jones in an airport in July 2013 set her on a different course.
With just several months of training, Williams became a brakeman and qualified for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where she won a silver medal. Out of all her accomplishments, Williams calls the bobsled her coolest opportunity.
“I kind of got to hit that reset button,” she said. “I didn’t see that coming. I hadn’t expected it. … It was definitely that refresh feeling. In track and field, I kind of got bogged down with the monotony. I kind of lost the passion behind it. I got the passion back. It was new and exciting. I was constantly on edge.”
(c)2015 the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.)
Visit the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.) at www.timesonline.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.