Mental strength sees Bundy lad slide toward Olympic dream
ULTIMATELY it won't be Joe Williamson's heart and lungs that will power him to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, nor will it be the speed in his legs.
It will be a more critical organ, the crucial part of his body that is under the most intense pressure each time he steps on the track - his brain.
Williamson is consuming all his mental energy to achieve his goal of representing Australia in the bobsled at the Beijing Winter Olympics, and when he needs a top up he doesn't have to look far to find it.
"There is a little bit of arrogance (that gets me off the floor to keep training), and the right amount of willpower," Williamson said.
"A lot of that stuff I learned from my dad, Ivan, who has that get-up-and-get-it-done attitude.
"He's the kind of bloke who just gets stuff done when it needs to be done."
Importantly, what Williamson's father taught him has already brought the 27-year-old sprinter from playing football and touch, in his home town of Bundaberg, to being one of Queensland's quickest men on the track.
However, there is more to do.
Williamson's desire to be fast has seen him train 25 hours each week for the past two years; with two track sessions a day, and early-morning weights being a staple of his training diet.
So far, the hard work has paid off, and Williamson said there was something special that made him addicted to running fast.
"When you start to travel towards 10 metres per second, you can't actually hear anything," he said.
"The wind goes so fast past your ears so loudly you couldn't really hear; the first time I did it it was phenomenal, I started gliding over the track and the 100m was over before I knew it.
"The first time I felt that was after a year of training, and the look on my face, according to my coach, was like I had just found the biggest candy store in the world."
Along with self-belief, and inheriting dad's attitude, Williamson still finds inspiration in other athletic performances, and there was one event he watches regularly for motivation. "I was nine years old when I watched Cathy Freeman come from behind and smoke that field at the 2000 Sydney Olympics," he said.
"I watch it now, and it still gives me goose bumps."
Williamson said if he was able to emulate a part of what Freeman achieved it would be an amazing feeling.
"It (representing Australia) would be indescribable to be honest - every athlete wants to do it," Williams said.
"Especially at a winter Olympics, a summer nation like Australia to be able to mix it with the best would be awesome.
"I would relish the opportunity, and the responsibility."
For Williamson to get this far he has enjoyed, and is thankful for, plenty of support from family, friends and work colleagues, but there is more to be done.
His next step is a training camp in Germany on October 22, and with Sliding Sports Australia running a tight budget the local community has the chance to get around Williamson and help him achieve his goal.
Visit https://asf.org.au/athletes/send-joe-bobsledding/ to offer a donation to help one of Australia's brightest Winter Olympic prospects make an appearance in Beijing 2022.