Renowned researcher, marathoner & Kinesiology alum Mel Williams dies
Mel Williams, a champion long-distance runner and prominent sports performance researcher whose work led to the International Olympic Committee’s ban on blood doping, died last month of bone cancer in his home state of Virginia. Williams received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland's Department of Kinesiology (then called the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science) in 1968, and was professor emeritus at Old Dominion University, where he founded both the Human Performance Laboratory and the Wellness Institute.
Williams is remembered for his fascination with sports performance enhancement, or ergogenics. His research spanned the effects of caffeine, hypnosis, alcohol, and blood transfusions on athletic performance, and helped inform the 1985 decision to ban blood doping in the Olympics. Williams also wrote more than 10 books on nutrition and fitness, served on the board of the American College of Sports Medicine, and founded the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
Despite his professional and personal accomplishments -- Williams ran more than 1,000 races and 125 marathons, and won his age group at the Boston Marathon three times -- Williams is remembered as extraordinarily humble, and a great motivator to all his students and friends.