Danielle: Fierce and focused
Fierce and focused, Danielle Williams surprised herself and the rest of us as she hurdled her way to gold medal success in the women's 100-metre hurdles at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
She had crossed the line first, but she wasn't sure. How could she be? The giant screen inside the Bird's Nest was not providing the answer fast enough for her to hide the nervous gaze that was stapled across her face.
Danielle Williams 12.57 PB; Cindy Roleder 12.59 PB; Alina Taley 12.66 NR.
The young Jamaican had defied the odds. She was the best in the world.
Not even her impressive 12.58 seconds win over pre-championships medal favourite Sharika Nelvis in the semi-final round two hours earlier, could prepare her and most of the athletics world for the results that followed.
"I won, I won; I cant believe it!" she exclaimed just under an hour after draping herself in the Jamaican flag. This was after her name had flashed on the giant screen - on top of everyone else's.
"I came into this championship expecting to run a personal best got it in the semi-final and was just hoping I would have the legs to come back in the final since they were so close together," Williams said or her target coming into Beijing.
"In the semi-final, I realised I had the fastest time going in but I was not trying to get ahead of myself and get too cocky, because it was just one race and I was just trying to stay focused and level-headed going into the final," Williams added.
The 22-year-old became Jamaica's second 100m hurdles world champion and the fourth woman from the country to medal in the event.
She is also half of the first pair of siblings to compete in the 100m hurdles at a World Championships final.
"It was an awesome feeling having my sister with me. We shall celebrate as soon as I get home. I'm just so sorry she couldn't be on the podium as well," Williams added before sharing her sister's message at the end of the race. "She said 'great going, proud of you' and I told her the same thing."
Williams, who admitted that she was surprised that no Americans got on the podium after the dominance of their hurdlers all season, underlined her admiration of American legend Gail Devers while crediting her win to extensive work and improvements to her technique over the past year.
"We have worked on technique from the end of Commonwealth Games last year straight up to this championships. We have been working a lot on trying to fix my technique. It's not perfect but it's a whole lot better and I can attest to that. So, I'm happy that we were able to do that and I think fixing the technique got me the medal here," said Williams, who says she is confident and motivated heading into the coming season.
"I wont focus on increased expectations. I will continue to be my jovial, level-headed self and continue to train hard like everyone else will and hopefully in Rio I will be Olympic champion," said Williams.
One thing is for certain, she wont be catching anyone by surprise in Rio.