Just days after an Achilles tendon injury ended her illustrious collegiate career, Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Williams has some good news.
The senior at the University of California Berkeley is among 25 nominees for the American Athletic Incorporated (AAI) Award given to the most outstanding senior female gymnast in the United States.
This award is considered the Heisman Trophy in gymnastics. Every year, college coaches submit their nominations for this award. The coaches then vote to narrow down these nominations to finalists, and ultimately the winner.
“It is a huge honour!” Williams told Sportsmax.TV. “There are amazing athletes that have been nominated so it’s an honour to be among them.”
Williams’ record as a collegiate gymnast will take some beating.
She owns the program-record scores on vault (10.0), floor (9.975) and all-around (39.700), and is one of only two gymnastics in Cal history to record a perfect 10.0.
In addition to her role as a star for the Bears, Williams made history in 2016 when she qualified for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games, becoming the first gymnast to represent Jamaica at the international Olympic level.
She has represented Jamaica at the international level since 2010, competing at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and showcasing her skills in countries including Brazil, Scotland, Canada, Japan and Belgium.
Outside of the gym, she is also a team captain for the Bears.
Her passion for service extends beyond her team, as she is also one of the pioneering figures in further developing Jamaica’s involvement in Olympic sports beyond what the Jamaican people are best known for — track and field.
As part of her Olympic campaign, Williams held a leotard drive to raise equipment for the underprivileged communities of Jamaica, and she remains committed to fostering the growth of gymnastics in the country.
Williams eventually hopes to help open a state-of-the-art gymnastics facility on the island country and help encourage young gymnasts to pursue collegiate gymnastics careers.
At UC Berkeley, rated the world’s No. 1 public university, Williams will graduate with degrees in both Social Welfare and Legal Studies.
You can vote for Toni-Ann at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QGWQSJD
By: Leighton Levy