It all starts with a dream. For Wilbert London III, the dream started in fifth grade when he wrote his goals down for a class assignment. There, Wil said his ultimate goal was to become a pro-athlete.
“After my wife and I discovered the letter, things were already rolling for Wil," remembered Wilbert London, Jr., Wil's father. "I mean, we knew from a little kid that he was a special kid.”
“I always knew I was fast, and I was always a lot smaller than my classmates, so I guess when you’re in track it's not really about the size. Then I just used my speed to my abilities and made the best of it,” said Wil.
“We went over to Waco High’s meet, and they hooked up. It was a heck of a battle, but Wil... little Wil won and he’s just moved on from that point," said Kenneth Wiethorn, Baylor Track & Field Assistant Coach,. "I knew he was special way back a number of years ago.”
Wil has already accomplished one of his goals written in that letter. The Waco High School graduate went on to run track at Baylor, where he broke multiple records, including Jeremy Wariner’s 15-year-old record with a time of 45.19 in the 400 meters. He is also a four-time Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Big 12 Champion.
“We saw a lot in Wil when he was a little bitty kid running in summer track, and I’ve watched Wil all the way up from summer track to high school, and we recruited him not only based on his athletic ability but what we knew about Wil. Potentially I think the sky’s the limit for Wil,” said Clyde Hart, retired Head Track & Field Coach at Baylor and Wil's current coach.
After graduating in 2019, Wil set his sights on his next goal- to become an Olympic athlete. But then, the pandemic hit.
“It was tough, it was really rough. You feel like you were just training for no reason, just coming out here every day training with no track meet available, and it gets kind of old training for months and months and months," said Wil.
“He’s out there working hard. He knows how hard it is to run the 400 meters, and Wil has never backed down from any race or any competition, so I think just the drive in him keeps him going,” said Wilbert London, Jr.
After almost a year, Wil is still training, preparing for the U.S. Track & Field Olympic trials coming up in June.
“I think he’s got a better chance this year than he did last year. That’s the way we are approaching it. Yeah we would have liked to have done it last year, and he would have run well, but I think that he is going to be stronger this year. Age does that,” said Coach Hart.
The rescheduled dates for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been set for July 23 through August 8.