Born in Parkes in Central West NSW, Mariah Williams grew up loving touch football and hockey.
Williams secured a regular fixture in the Australian hockey team in 2015, after going through four knee surgeries before the tender age of 21.
HSC, multiple setbacks and an Olympic debut – this is PART THREE of her story.
Before you continue, make sure you’ve read 1 & 2 first.
READ PART ONE, HERE
READ PART TWO, HERE.
ONWARDS & UPWARDS
By Mariah Williams
There was one last tournament in London a month out from Rio selections.
The moment I had been working so hard for came…and I was announced in the team.
The first game was Champions Trophy on June 18 which gave me two weeks of training after my six-week stint out.
I made my way through rehab and boarded the plane to London with no setbacks, I played the first game and every other game after that.
I was getting more and more nervous every day because I knew I wasn’t in my best form for this tournament after so long in rehab – but with all that had happened the decision wasn’t in my hands and I had done all I could do with the time I had.
After the tournament, we were released to go back to our home states for the announcement of the Olympics.
Sitting surrounded by my family, I received the email.
I waited a few moments before I opened it.
I pressed ‘open attachment’ and scrolled all the way down to the bottom.
There it was, ‘WILLIAMS’ – I simply smiled and the tears flowed very soon after.
Everything from there went extremely quick. Quicker than I knew it, we were boarding the plane to Rio.
Walking out onto the pitch for our first game knowing I was representing my family, sport and country at the pinnacle, in the green and gold was an indescribable feeling.
Everything I have been through in the past four years proved worth it and cemented the reason I never gave up.
Having four knee surgeries under the age of 21 was extremely difficult, not being able to do the thing you love the most whilst watching friends/team mates train and play was mentally the biggest challenge for me.
I’ve played hockey since I was four years old so not being able to do that really plays on your heart strings and makes you question the future. You start to feel lonely, it’s like you are missing out on what the team is doing.
Being young you don’t quite understand the big picture, it can feel like everyone is against you, like physios are trying to keep you out for longer then you need, conditioning/strength coaches push you to extreme measures where you think you might break and you begin to wonder whether the coach will still want you in his team and you slip away from team mates due to different training regimes.
But through all this you come out the other side.
After everything I’ve been through, I wouldn’t go back and change anything about the start of my career. My injuries and rehabbing have made me a stronger person today, it made me understand the importance of resilience.
Cutting corners is only going to hurt you so do all the 1%’s that you normally let slip.
The character building.
The desire to push yourself to achieve your goals.
Having setbacks and being able to overcome them.
Mentally being able to pull yourself together in the toughest times.
Realising the impact you can have on others.
Wanting to inspire the younger/older generations of our sport, giving them an insight of what it’s like to be an elite athlete and the ups and downs we go through in our everyday lives.
So that is a little insight of my career so far. Keep following my career because the best is yet to come.