Talladega Track Standout Nastario Williams’ Track to Olympic Lure Has Eyes on 2024 Paris Olympics

By: Jarrett Hoffman, GCAC Staff Writer

The time has come for the best athletes worldwide to represent their countries competing in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

One of the most lucrative sports in the Olympic lure is track & field (classified as athletics) producing some of the most exciting action of the two-week event.

Before we get to the Olympics, there are the World Relay Championships taking place in the Bahamas beginning May 4.

The Bahamas is home to Talladega College sprinter Nastario Williams who has built up an outstanding resume since transferring to the Tornadoes in 2022.

He became the first 100m sprinter in school history to qualify for the NAIA national championships making it to the Finals in the 100m, 200m, and 4×100 relay during the 2023 games.

It is because of these achievements that Williams was invited to represent the Bahamas in the World Relay Championships with an opportunity to qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Williams talked about how he found out about the invitation from an email sent by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) and his initial reaction to the news.

“What happened was, they sent an email…I didn’t even check my email that day I did it the day before. I went into my email and I [saw] the BAAAs and they had an attachment to it. I don’t normally get emails from the BAAAs so it stood out to me. I opened it, read it and I was in shock. Coming from home it was something big it was one of the biggest opportunities I’ve had. The first person I contacted was my mom and then I contacted my coach.”

As the Talladega sprinter described it, he was selected among a relay pool of eight athletes. They will have a training camp and a run-off to narrow down the field to six for the World Relay Championships.

Talladega coach Christopher McConnell, an alumnus of and former All-American track & field athlete at Huston-Tillotson University, talked about the impact this will have on Talladega and small HBCUs alike.

“I know what it’s like to compete at a small, black college and make it to the highest level. As well as being a part of the teams that are looked down upon and aren’t given the due diligence and respect that has been earned. I know what it’s like to be at the bottom, come to the top, win at the highest level, and then still not receive the respect that is due. So, the fact that [Nastario] is the first student-athlete in the history of [Talladega College] to qualify for a professional team to represent his country in the Olympic Games, it’s nothing short of amazing. It just proves that it doesn’t matter where you go if you put in the hard work and you’re committed.”

Through all of this, Williams has made it clear that competing for a NAIA national championship remains a goal of his.

While he did admit this opportunity did give him an ego boost, his mentality has always remained the same that it’s anybody’s race when lined up on the track.

“I always thought someone would be faster than me but they have to prove that to me,” said Williams. “I always tell my teammates if I line up against Usain Bolt, despite his world record, he has to prove to me that he is faster than me. He has to run [the world record] on me with me knowing he is going to beat me but he has to prove that to me. So, me getting this opportunity didn’t change much because they have to prove to me that they are better than me, that they can outwork me, and that they could outrun me. They have to prove it to me.”

Coach McConnell expounded on Williams’ competitive nature pointing out that while he does not have the resources most athletes do when training, that is no excuse when he steps on the track.

“When it’s time to compete, he’s ready to dominate. When it’s time to compete, we’re not out there to be friendly with anybody. We are going to do everything in our power to annihilate the competition and that’s who Nas is. He’s dangerous and when I see him line up with anybody, they better come ready. They better bring their a-plus game when they step up on the line with Nastario Williams.”

About Willie Alex Hines 6883 Articles
A lifelong sports fan and follower of HBCUs, Willie Alexander Hines is an expert on any sport with tremendous recall of history and newsmakers.