When students watch the two-week long Winter Olympics, they might not expect to see one of their own competing. However, fellow Red Hawk Isadora Williams will be skating for gold.
This year’s Winter Olympics will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea starting on Feb. 8. While she attends school here at Montclair State in the U.S., Williams will be competing for the country of Brazil.
Williams, a nutrition and food science major, is a dual citizen of Brazil, where her mother is from, and the United States, where her father is from. That is how she is able to compete for Brazil, yet train here and attend school in Montclair State.
She began skating at the age of 5 because of her father.
“When I was younger, my dad took me to a public skating session and I just fell in love with it,” Williams said. “He took me to group lessons after and then private lessons and it just went from there.”
It was not until she was about 12 years old when she and her family looked into having her compete at a national level. They looked into seeing if Brazil had an outlet for figure skating.
“We just wanted to see if I had the opportunity to skate for Brazil,” Williams said. “We contacted them, and they sent me to my first Junior World’s after that.”
While they sent her to Junior World’s, her eyes have been always set on the Olympics.
“Ever since I was little, the Olympics was always the end goal,” Williams said. “I’ve [been] working towards that goal my entire life.”
In September of 2013, Williams competed at the Nebelhorn Trophy, a senior international figure skating competition and the last qualifying event for the 2014 Winter Olympic games held in Sochi, Russia. There, Williams placed high enough to make her dreams a reality.
Williams, along with qualifying for the Winter Games in Sochi, also became the first woman in Brazil’s history to compete in the Winter Olympics for figure skating.
“It was such an honor to represent the country of my parent’s heritage, to put South America on the figure skating map because they hadn’t had anyone in the past represent them for the Olympics,” Williams said.
While reaching her goal in Sochi, the outcome was not what she had hoped for. Finishing with a ranking of 30th place, she is using this experience to propel her in this year’s competition. She looks forward to redeeming herself.
“My first Olympics did not go as well as I had hoped,” Williams said. “It kind of sucked working towards something and it not going as well as you’d hoped. It was three minutes, but it felt like my whole skating career was over. But I decided to get back into skating, and I’m just happy to have another chance to perform to my potential.”
As well as competing in Pyeongchang, Williams also goes to school in Montclair. While her schoolwork is just as important as her training, she has limited the amount of classwork this semester to prioritize the Olympics.
“I’m taking two online classes this semester just because I’ll be traveling a lot,” Williams said. “I think my main focus this semester is going to be the Olympics. It’s good to take online classes so I won’t completely be out of school, but I can balance it better.”
Williams, a transfer student, spent the last two years at Montclair State and has figured out how to balance school and training while here.
“It’s just a lot of time management,” Williams said. “I try to get homework in as often as I can like during lunch breaks or whenever I have a break from skating. I really just stay on top of my schedule.”
Along with taking her classes at Montclair State, Williams trains five days a week for three hours each at Floyd Hall Arena on campus. Besides that, she also trains at the gym for an hour and a half twice a week. On the weekends, Williams also coaches at the rink.
“I used to think I was missing out on stuff on campus,” Williams said. “But then I just realize how special the Olympics are going to be and when I look back on my youth, I don’t really think missing out on my social life will be as detrimental as I thought in the past.”
This will be Williams’ final time competing in the Olympics. She will also compete in one more season of tournaments after the Olympics.
Williams has acquired quite the fanbase here at Montclair State and in Brazil. While the 300 million people back in Brazil watch her on television, her roommates here will be having a watch party to see their roommate go for the gold on Wednesday, Feb. 21.
Check out the full interview aired on WMSC FM.