trophy with confetti

The Spirit of Willympics


A 36-minute wall-sit, a flawlessly executed lip sync performance—what will it take to win Williston’s new tradition? 

If you graduated more than five years ago, you may not have heard about Williston’s much-beloved dorm vs. dorm vs. day student competition, Willympics. Started in 2016 by Assistant Dean of Students Erin Davey after she received many student requests for some kind of Olympics-style games, the contest includes multiple events held over a period of weeks in the fall—all for the chance to win bragging rights and to hold onto a glorious trophy (at left) until the following year. 

The Willympiad includes the wall-sit (teams work those quads to try and beat the 35-minute record), rock-paper-scissors (a classic), the banner competition (where teams vie for the best hand-painted queen-size bedsheet emblazoned with their logo), and the lip sync competition. This last one is no joke; teams have put on elaborate spectacles with detailed and precise choreography, plus creative lighting, along with their synchronized emoting. 

Benning Johnson ’22, a member of the WildestCats Club, which helps organize Willympics, has been participating since he was a first year, living in John Hazen White House, which, he noted sadly, has never captured the trophy. He lives in Ford Hall now, which clinched the first two wins, in 2016 and 2017. Residents of 194 Main Street (now Wold House, see page 8) won in 2018. John Wright House prevailed in 2019. In 2020, the pandemic interrupted the games, and this year, Mem East took the honors, with their acrobatic lip sync performance bringing them over the top. However, there is more to Willympics than winning. “The energy is unmatched, and it is so much fun to be in the middle of it all,” Johnson said. 

What’s the secret to success? “A winning team shows up wholeheartedly,” says Sarah Markey ’22, a member of the day student team and a WildestCat. “They are unashamed to be goofy and embrace Williston pride with enthusiastic spirit. It’s not about athletic ability, or lip syncing talent, it’s about the excitement, exuberance, and collaboration a team brings to the competition.” 

Davey agrees that collaboration is the name of the game. “Willympics has a wonderful ability to bring our community together in such a spirited and special way. My hope is that Willympics becomes a true Williston tradition, one current students look forward to and alums remember fondly for years and years.”