Dina Asher-Smith: Why British sprinter may win Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020
Nice Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith accomplished a European Championships dash double in Berlin on Saturday. The 22-year-old, who broke her personal British report to win the 100m, left world champion Dafne Schippers trailing to take 200m gold in 21.89 seconds, the quickest time by a lady this 12 months.
Eight-time world champion and four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson assesses her probabilities of successful Olympic gold in Tokyo in 2020.
I’ve been watching British athletics with the BBC since 2002 and in all that point I’ve not seen anybody like Dina Asher-Smith.
There have been athletes who’ve proven as a lot if no more potential of their junior profession. British sprinting at junior stage has all the time been good.
However at this level of their profession, somebody who has continued to enhance 12 months after 12 months, can compete in opposition to the perfect on the planet and has the complete package deal, bodily, mentally and when it comes to their perspective? No. I do not assume I’ve seen anybody like her. And I feel the info would help that.
There hasn’t been anybody who has received up to now the place they’re a worldwide medal contender at such a younger age, aside from Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Mo Farah took a lifetime to grasp his potential, and for those who take a look at Greg Rutherford, no person ever anticipated that both. He simply occurred to hit a time within the lengthy soar when it was a bit simpler to win championships. No disrespect to Greg as a result of I’ve all the time stated you win in opposition to the individuals who you’re up in opposition to.
How a lot sooner can she go?
Dina can go sooner. How a lot sooner is a troublesome one. She’s clearly nonetheless very younger and nonetheless studying the 100m and 200m from a race technique perspective.
I’m positive she and her coach can nonetheless discover some enhancements from a pace and energy standpoint.
The opposite approach is when it comes to her competitiveness. She has proven within the final couple of years and in Berlin that she is a superb competitor as a race favorite. She will not be the race favorite – she’ll be one of many favourites – over the following two years on the World Championships and Olympics. That could be a totally different approach of competing.
How briskly can she go? Given the instances that she has run right here, any enchancment in any respect and he or she is in medal competition, even gold-medal competition.
Shades of Olympic nice Fraser-Pryce
I stated after Dina’s victory within the 100m that she jogged my memory of 2008 and 2012 Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. She is analogous in stature and related in the way in which she dominated the 100m.
The best way she executed the race with a really fast begin out of the blocks, separating away from the sector with no actual glitches in approach or transition, all jogged my memory of Shelly-Ann. All the levels of the race have been very easy and with nice approach.
That is without doubt one of the benefits that Shelly-Ann has had and that’s one thing that Dina has as nicely.
Persona of an Olympic champion?
We now have talked rather a lot on BBC Sport down the years about British sprinters who seem to have had the potential to be a World Championship and Olympic medallist.
In lots of circumstances they have not received there. Most of the time that may be attributed to the choices they’ve made, that are based mostly on maturity and a capability to deal with the stress.
One of many strongest issues about Dina which makes me consider that she may get to the Olympic podium is her maturity and her perspective. She is a targeted athlete who’s having fun with the game however who can be pushed and goal-oriented.
She’ll must be. There may be such a desperation in Nice Britain for a champion in any occasion that it does create an amazing quantity of focus and stress that athletes from different nations resembling Jamaica or United States most likely do not feel.
That absolute desperation is exclusive to Nice Britain. It’s what makes the game so nice right here however additionally it is one of many issues that creates an amazing quantity of stress.
100m or 200m?
I feel that she might be higher at 100m than 200m, purely as an athlete. However the 100m is extra aggressive which makes that race tougher.
The 200m is not fairly as aggressive at international stage. I do not assume there’s a downside with doubling up; I feel that’s her future.
I might really warning in opposition to simply specializing in one since you need to be a world and Olympic champion and her likelihood is higher if she is doing each. I do not assume her likelihood is going to dramatically enhance by specializing in one.
Is she able to successful gold in Tokyo?
She is the whole package deal and now it’s only a case of making an attempt to eke out the little enhancements in all phases of the race and simply be a fraction higher.
Do I feel individuals are getting carried away? You are British. The Brits all the time get carried away.
I do not assume that’s ever going to cease so, if I have been in her place and I used to be her coach, I might develop a method to ensure she does not get affected by that.
There’s nothing you are able to do as an athlete to cease that, you simply have to determine the way to cope with it finest.
Is she able to successful gold in Tokyo? Completely.
Michael Johnson was talking to BBC Sport’s Tom Reynolds