Christa Lee Williams (born February 8, 1978 in Houston, Texas) is a two time Olympic gold medalist.
She competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where she received a gold medal with the American team. Four years later at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, she won her second gold medal. Williams played college softball with the Texas Longhorns.
Christa Williams answers my 10 questions. Written By Gary Leland
Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. I started playing ball when I was 8 years old. Things are much different now. We used the fall to perfect our mechanics so that we were ready to play at a high level. Also, tournaments almost all had winners and very few exposures.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
A. I would say my dad was my biggest influence on my success. He caught me every day and was my coach. He knew my flaws both on and off the field and always found a way to motivate me to practice when I didn’t want to.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. I typically just relax listen to music and focus on the upcoming game and visualize the pitches that I needed to throw.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. When I am not involved with softball I just enjoy watching other sports and spending time with my family. I have never been that person that has to be busy all the time to be happy.
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. I would say my dad was my biggest influence. I always hated to lose and still do. I loved to do what people told me I couldn’t do which can work for and against you at times. I love the competition the thrill of executing the perfect pitch against a great hitter in a tough situation.
Q. Do you have any routines are superstitions that you implement regularly?
A. I typically eat the same items and or go through the same warm up routine as far as throwing, throwing partners same music placing my bag in a certain place.
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. My favorite softball memory is winning the gold medal in both the 96 and 00 Olympics. Obviously winning is nice, but I loved it because of all the hard work paying off and standing higher than everyone else with our national anthem playing and knowing that everything that we had gone through both as a team and individuals was worth all of the sacrifices.
Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?
A. Mental training is super important. I wish that while I was playing there was more emphasis on it. There was enough towards the end of my career for me to realize how critical it is to have your mind right in order to perform at the highest level possible.
Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?
A. There are several obstacles that I faced as a player. When I made the US team at such a young age I didn’t know how to deal with the pressure or the emotions and I didn’t always handle things the correct way. The pressure to be perfect was always there and at times I rebelled because I got tired of that feeling. I finally met a coach that helped me deal with the internal pressures. As a coach my biggest challenge is getting my players to overcome their fears and put everything on the line every time. Along the same lines is that its about the TEAM first and you second.
Q. If you could do anything else in the world as a profession, what would it be and why?
A. I wish I could have been a professional baseball player so that I could have played the sport I loved and done this as a job. Seeing that it is not a possibility to do this I would say that I am doing what I love to do which is coaching kids and trying to help other young ladies reach their dreams.
A FEW ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996, 2000)
Two-time ISF World Champion (1995, 1998)
2000: Gold medalist at Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia
1999: Gold medalist at U.S. Olympic Cup
– Pitched a complete game shutout against Australia in Championship Game
1998: Gold medalist at ISF World Championships
– Went 1-0 with 0.00 ERA and 17 strikeouts
1996: Gold medalist at Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia
– Went 2-0 with 0.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts
1995: Gold medalist at ISF Junior Women’s World Championship
– Went 6-0 with tournament-high 86 strikeouts
1994: Gold medalist at Pan American Games Qualifier
– Threw perfect game and no-hitter
– Finished with 3-0 record, 0.00 ERA and 45 strikeouts
Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and NCAA Regional Tournament MVP (1998)
Two-time NCAA All-American
Helped lead Texas to 1998 NCAA WCWS
GETTING TO KNOW WILLIAMS
Recipient of the “Mary Lou Retton Rising Star Award” in 1995
Two-time ASA Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Champion (1996, 1997)
Born on February 8, 1978