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Novlene Williams-Mills won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay in the 2004 Olympic Games, in Athens, Greece. A year later, she joined teammates to win another silver medal in the same event at the World Championships. Born in Saint Ann, Williams-Mills narrowly lost the individual gold medal in the 2007 Osaka, Japan World Championships when, after entering the final meters with a commanding lead, succumbed at the line and could only hold on for the bronze medal. She remains a fearsome competitor who has been ranked in the Top Ten best quarter milers for a number of years.
Enter 2012, and at age 30 she was one of the favorites for the gold in London; for she had tweaked her training, and early results were just what the doctor ordered. However, she was fifth in the final.
One year later, the 31-one-year-old five-time world, and three-time Olympic medalist, opened up about her fight with breast cancer and her double mastectomy.
Surgeons had removed a small lump in her breast three days after the London 2012 Olympics, where she helped her team to bronze in the 4x400m relay. The diagnosis was a secret she kept during the London Games – not even her team mates knew.
Four months after her final operation in January 2013, Williams-Mills returned to the track and won her seventh Jamaican 400m title the following June. In doing so, she secured her spot on the team to the Moscow World Championships in August, where she ran “for all the breast cancer survivors.” She placed eighth in the final.