Desai Williams

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameEmpson Othman Desai•Williams
Used nameDesai•Williams
Born12 June 1959 in Basseterre (SKN)
Died10 April 2022 in Mississauga, Ontario (CAN)
Measurements175 cm / 72 kg
AffiliationsYork Optimists/Downsview/Scarborough/Mazda Optimists Track Club
NOC Canada


A native of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Desai Williams’ first passion was soccer, but he switched to track and field athletics when his high school dropped its soccer program. He first made his mark on the national scene in 1977 when, in the month of August, he won eight gold medals in track events between the Canada Games and the Junior National Championships. Two years later, now a Canadian senior champion in the 100 m and a student Clemson University, he represented his nation at the 1979 Pan American Games, finishing sixth in the 200 m and eighth in the 100 m. He was the 100 and 200 metre Canadian champion in 1980 and was selected to compete at that year’s Summer Olympics, but stayed home after Canada joined the boycott of those Games. After setting a national record in the 200 m in 1981, he travelled to the 1982 Commonwealth Games, where he won silver in the 4x100 metre relay alongside Ben Johnson, Mark McKoy, and Tony Sharpe. He then won silver in the 100 m at the 1983 Summer Universiade, behind Chidi Imoh of Nigeria, but was less successful at that year’s World Championships, coming in eighth in the 100 m, and being eliminated in the semifinals of the 200 m and disqualified in the 4x100 m relay. He finally got a chance to attend the Summer Olympics in 1984, where he won a bronze medal in the 4x100 m relay with Johnson, Sharpe, and Sterling Hinds. He was also eliminated in the semifinals of both the 100 and 200 m events.

Williams and Johnson, alongside Róbson da Silva and the non-Olympian Leandro Peñalver of Brazil, won silver in the 4x100 m relay at the 1985 IAAF World Cup, representing the Americas. The Canadian duo, with McKoy and Atlee Mahorn, finally struck gold at the 1986 Commonwealth Games, where they won the 4x100 m relay. With the non-Olympian Michael Dwyer in place of McKoy, they were fourth at the 1987 World Championships, where Williams was also eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 100 m. He was then selected for the 1988 Summer Olympics, where he placed sixth in the 100 m and seventh in the 4x100 m relay (alongside Mahorn, Cyprian Enweani, Brian Morrison, and Andrew Mowatt). His career ended the following year, however, when he became embroiled in the doping scandal surrounding Johnson. He worked for several years with the American Red Cross before taking up a job in Toronto as a marketing manager. In 2004 he joined the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts as a speed and sprint coach.

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.11 (1988); 200 – 20.29 (1983).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1984 Summer Olympics Athletics CAN Desai Williams
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 5 h1 r3/4
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 5 h2 r3/4
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Canada 3 Bronze
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Canada DNS
1988 Summer Olympics Athletics CAN Desai Williams
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 6
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Canada 7

Special Notes