Pittsburgh Superstars: Lauryn Williams, women’s track & field

Plaques, medals, awards and accolades — if you don’t know who Lauryn Williams is, just look inside Rochester High School in Beaver County, her alma mater.

A huge banner hanging in the hallway states she is the first American woman to win medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.

“It’s just a few minutes to bask in the glory,” Williams said about those podium ceremonies. “It’s gratefulness, pleasure and pride at the same time.”

Williams won silver in the bobsled in the 2014 winter games in Sochi. She brought home silver in the 100 meters in the summer games in Athens. In the 2012 games in London, she won gold as a member of track’s 4x100 meter relay.

“It’s very intense and you kind of go into like a tunnel vision sort of thing,” Williams said of standing on that start line. “During the race, all I pretty much remember is, ‘oh, I’m at the finish line.’ Those are the ones that went really great. So it’s like taking yourself to a fifth plane as you’re getting ready to go into competition mode.”

Beaver County inducted Williams into its sports Hall of Fame in 2019. Her University of Miami uniform and shoes are on display at the Heinz History Center.

No matter how many places she travels or lives, Western Pennsylvania is home.

“It was a huge deal for me to have people from Western Pennsylvania get behind me, support me, cheer for me, send letters of encouragement. One of the things that stands out the most was, at the point I made my first Olympic team, my dad had leukemia. We didn’t have a lot of money. He wanted to be there and see me. There was a very short timeframe,” Williams said. “But Western Pennsylvania got behind (us) and they raised enough money, not just for me to take my dad, but we were able to take eight family members. I am so grateful to be from such a wonderful part of the country.”