At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Williams was a member of the Austrialian men's volleyball team. An outside hitter at the University of California-Los Angeles in the United States, Williams started as libero (only allowed to pass and dig) for the Australians. He said entering the Games, "It's hard to play libero when I'm used to doing many other things, but on the team, I am a rookie and do whatever I can to play. I would rather be playing outside, but it wasn't my decision."
Australia went 2-3 in the preliminary round, defeating Spain (3-1) and Egypt (3-0), but losing to Brazil, the Netherlands, and Cuba (all in straight sets). The Australians advanced to the quarterfinals, where they were defeated by Italy, 1-3. They ended the tournament with losses to the Netherlands (0-3), and Cuba (0-3), and officially finished in eighth place.
Williams, who was born in Australia, came to the United States at the age of 10 and settled in Los Angeles with his family. After leading his high school team to three City titles, Mark attended UCLA and became one of the best college players in the country. After a solid freshman season in 1998, Williams was terrific in 1999, earning second team All-America honors and finishing sixth in the nation with 2.38 digs per game.
In 2000, Williams emerged as one of the best outside hitters in the game, playing in all 34 UCLA matches. He helped lead the Bruins to the National Championship (the 18th in school history), and even spiked the winning kill in the championship match. During the season, Mark set a school record with 63 aces and was named third team All-America. After competing in the Olympics for his native Australia, Williams returned to UCLA in 2001 for his senior season and was named first team All-America; however, the Bruins lost to BYU in the NCAA Championship.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 27, 1979
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Review November/December 2000 issue (Volume 2, Number 9, Issue 22)