Rochester track athlete already has sights on 2024 games in Paris

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Watching the track and field competition at the Olympics in Tokyo has become a bittersweet experience for one Rochester area athlete who almost, but didn’t quite, make it to the games.

“My mind right now is just on being the best in the world,” declared runner Noah Williams.

His dreams of gold are very much alive, even if he’s not in Tokyo for the Olympics.

As a star runner for McQuaid High School where he graduated in 2017 and now a Junior at LSU, Noah has pushed himself hard but didn’t quite make the cut, so he’s watching the Olympics from afar.
…This time.

“It hit hard but it gave me more motivation,” he sighed. “Like ‘okay, you weren’t good enough this time. You just have to get better so you are good enough for the next time.’”

Back in March, Noah came close to a record in the 400 meters. His 44.71 second time was the fourth-fastest in history.

It’s accomplishments like that that give him a lift as he watches the competition in Tokyo and some of the other athletes’ performances.

“Yeah,” he laughed. “I’ve seen all their times and I’m like ‘wow, I can do that.’ So it’s just motivation. And I’ve got all respect for those guys. I’m not hating on them or anything like that.”

In Rochester, Noah’s onetime coach and mentor Aubrey Sheffield says he sees this young athlete on a trip that he’s been diligently pouring his energies into for a long time.

“Your whole life has to be about that,” he said. “The way you sleep, you eat, the way you walk, the way you talk, everything has to be about it.’

As the games go on, especially track and field, Noah says he’s been in contact with some of the contenders, friends, who did make it to Tokyo and he still dreams of walking around the Olympic village with the American flag.

“It’s cool to be in that environment, with nothing but elite athletes,” he explained. “And to be one of them as well is super cool and, you know, it’s where I belong, I feel.“

Noah says he has every intention to compete at the 2024 summer games in Paris but tries to keep his focus more immediate.

“The thing that I try to do is look at it day by day,” he said. “I don’t really look at ‘oh, four years from now.’ I look at ‘what can you do today to be better than you were yesterday?’”