ATLANTA — The pandemic is keeping the parents of Olympic athlete Kendell Williams from being able to cheer on their daughter in person at the competition in Tokyo.
“We’ve been to every competition, you count the ones we’ve missed or I’ve missed on one hand. We go to everything, no matter where in the world it is, crazy parents,” said Terri and Blane Williams, Kendell Williams’ parents.
Terri and Blaine Williams have seen their daughter Kendell compete in thousands of track and field events and watched her win hundreds of medals. Due to the pandemic this year, they are not allowed to travel to Tokyo to watch Kendell compete in her second Summer Olympics.
“Tokyo would’ve been nice to go to but I am guessing it will be better to go to when there is not all the pandemic stuff going on,” said Blane.
Kendell’s parents told Channel 2′s Alison Mastrangelo that before the pandemic, about 30 family members were planning to travel to Japan to watch the former Georgia Bulldog compete in the Heptathlon.
“She knows she has a huge support system and she knows that we will be watching,” Blaine said. “And she knows I will be criticizing her form.”
Blaine said his daughter has traveled enough and done enough competitions on the elite level that she stays pretty levelheaded.
Kendell said it’s going to be weird to not see her parents in the stands.
“It’s kind of a bummer, but I know that they are going to be watching and cheering and screaming probably loud enough for me to hear them in Tokyo,” she said. “And I know across the country will be tuned in and cheering.”
That’s exactly what her parents are hoping for, even though mom and dad can’t be there in the stadium with her in Tokyo. They want their presence to fill her heart and soul before, during and after the competition.
“I’m going to yell out, ‘Hey! Hey!’ That’s how I use to get her attention above all the stadium noise,” Blaine said. “She could always hear me yell that out, and she would always look around. But hopefully, she will hear me yelling, ‘Hey! Hey!’ and she will know that I am supporting her.”
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Since all the families can’t travel to the Olympics this year, USA Track and Field will be throwing a watch party at Universal Studios for the parents. The Williams will get a hotel room, two tickets to the park and a safe environment to watch the games with other families.
“So they will have ballrooms with big screen TVs and catered food,” Blaine said. “It should be pretty interesting and there are other parents of people that are on the team that we know that will be there also.”
All mom and dad and dad want Kendell to do when it’s her turn to compete in the Summer Games is to just do her best and have fun.
“I use to tell them all the time, at the end of the day, I am going to ask you one question: ‘Is that the best you can do today?’” Blaine said. “And if you can honestly say, ‘Yes.’ then we’re happy with it.”
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