From first to last dances: Sharni Williams ready for one last crack at Olympic gold

Mon, Jun 26, 2023, 12:39 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Sharni Williams is ready for one last ride at Sevens gold - now as a married women. Photo: Getty Images
Sharni Williams is ready for one last ride at Sevens gold - now as a married women. Photo: Getty Images

Sevens legend Sharni Williams is looking to add further bling to her collection as she looks to end her decorated career on a high with a second gold

Williams signed a one-year extension at the start of the month, beginning the farewell tour that will end at next year's Paris Olympics.

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The 35-year-old is the last remaining member of the Australian squad that played in the first World Series event in 2012, winning everything that you can in the sport alongside teammate Charlotte Caslick.

Williams is at the stage of her career where current teammates were just starting high school when she debuted and ex-teammates are now her coaches, however, remains at peak physical fitness and ready to make a difference under coach Tim Walsh.

“Olympics is a big drawcard. Being able to win a gold medal in Rio and then Tokyo was a little bit different, not making the podium was hard but I think it’s the love of the game and the girls in the team,” Williams said to

“We’ve got some talented girls and I feel like my role there is to help out but also I’m not done yet. I’m still in pretty good shape and the support I have behind me such as Tom Carter, one of the best S & Cs that I’ve come across and ‘Walshy’ (head coach Tim Walsh) calling me the matriarch of the team, his intelligence behind Rugby and wanting to stay ahead of the game.

“I play Rugby because I play for my coach and team as well as the supporters. Having someone like Emilee Barton there coaching at an Olympics will be pretty cool as she was my teammate in 2016."

Williams has been a regular member under Tim Walsh, however, 2023 was the first Series in a considerable time she missed multiple Series events.

It wasn't due to injury or form, but rather taking a break to marry partner Mel in February, the wedding ring the only piece missing from her ever-growing collection of silverware.

“I think Rugby can be taken away from you at any point and I’ve experienced that with injuries. I’ve missed tournaments through injury but I haven’t missed tournaments due to choice," Williams explained.

“This time it was really about life balance and making sure that I’m in a good space that when I go out there on the field and I’m having the best time of my life because that’s what Rugby gives me…I have to have my ducks lined up and all in a row so we need to have that lined up to play our best footy and one of those things was getting married.

“I’m 35 years old now so how society paints that picture that you have to have a house, you have to have this and that. It’s not like that for me but being married was a huge thing, especially for a same-sex marriage.

“I now know I have my person and I’ve got my kids there so they can go out there and support me as well.”

In the press release for her re-signing, Walsh labelled Williams 'the Matriarch' of the side, a key gem in Walsh's royal crown alongside 'Empress' Caslick, 'Queen' Hayes and 'Princess' Ashby.

For Williams, she learns as much from the youthful group as she teaches them.

"Everyone sees it as a mentor and a leader but I learn a lot from them,” she said. “I might not be on TikTok dancing around with them but just the aspiration they have for the game, the way they get up and keep going but just the different data that coming out in where they’re pushing their body, there’s some incredible speed.

“The resilience as well, you can see it out on the field. When they do post their Instagram or TikToks, they’re super confident in themselves but there's that little aspect inside of them that they do doubt themselves.

“Me being an authentic person and able to love myself it’s going out there and teaching them how to do it on the Rugby field. They can do it off the Rugby field but sometimes they can't do it on the field and you can see that in their games.

“It’s about being there and making them feel wanted and belonging in the game.”


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