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The Wonder That Is Dina Asher Smith

This topic contains 19 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of laps Laps 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #67967
    Profile photo of rununlimited
    RunUnlimited
    Participant

    This is a thread that I decided to write having given myself a few days to digest the events of London 2017, and as a reply to a comment by SteveK26 on the London 2017 Post-Morten thread to try and process the remarkable talents of surely our most promising and naturally talented female sprinter to come from these shores since the glory days of Kathy Cook:

    Dina Asher-Smith achieved the nigh-on impossible in London.
    Her transformation from trials was quite remarkable.

    Give her an uninterrupted preparation and she must go sub 22. If I were her I would fear no-one.

    Let’s put into perspective what Dasher has achieved in her short career so far…

    2014 and still qualified as a junior athlete, DAS wins 100m gold at the world junior champs, then went on to smash Cathy Cook’s long standing 200m junior record in the semi-finals of the European Champs. She was was looking likely to grab a medal in the final but for the hamstring pull she suffered on the bend.

    2015 – First full season as a senior athlete and DAS has a great indoor season, getting 60m silver at the euro indoors, almost breaking the outright British record in doing so.
    Then in the outdoor season and in her first ever race on the Diamond League, she smashes her personal best and runs established stars like Allyson Felix extremely close throughout.
    In her next Diamond League appearance in London, she becomes the first British female sprinter to break the 11 second barrier.
    THEN at the Beijing World Champs, DAS lowers her lifetime best in every round of the 200m, culminating in her breaking Kathy Cook’s most impressive British record and finishing a very credible fifth in her first senior championship appearance.

    2016 – Things didn’t go as smoothly in Olympic year for DAS, having to pull out of the 60m final at the World Indoor champs, and going into the summer, injury niggles meant she wasn’t quite running the same times she had at the same period the previous season.
    However Dasher would show her ability to raise her game when it matters by winning her first senior championship title with gold in the Euro Championship 200m, running an impressive season’s best to do so.
    She then followed that up by lowering that season’s best again at the Rio Olympics 200m final, yet again finishing in 5th place.

    2017 – Dina Asher-Smith’s most difficult season in the senior ranks, suffering a broken bone in her foot in February, and missed a big chunk of the summer season. She only returned to serious running just in time to appear in the 100m at the British Athletic trials, where she looked fit enough to run, but nowhere near what she was capable of and looked a serious doubt to appear in a GB vest at the World Championships. At best it looked like she might get into the 4 X 100m relay squad if she was lucky…

    Then she produced that very encouraging 200m run at the Monaco Diamond League meeting, running a season’s best and got the qualifying time needed to get to London. But even so, most folks (me included) didn’t think she would be even among the best of our 200m runners who had qualified.

    How wrong I was!

    From not looking like she was even going to run at London, Dasher ended up running her equal 3rd fastest time ever over the 200m to come so close to a medal in the final, in cold and damp conditions to boot.

    Had she had an untroubled lead up to these World Championships, I’d say that it was more than likely that DAS would have run sub 22 sec for the 200m either before or during the championships.

    After her run in the final, I’m sure the likes of Miller-Uibo, Ta Lou, Bowie (didn’t run in the 200m final but has set the fastest time this year), Thompson and Schippers must be thinking that they are going to have some *real* problems on their hands with Dina Asher-Smith.

    My bold prediction: If she can avoid major injury and carries on progressing in the fashion she has done so far, Dina Asher Smith *will* smash the 22 second barrier in the next 2 seasons.

    If she decides to compete at the Commonwealth Games next year, if Elaine Thompson decides to give it a miss, then DAS could possibly go into it as the favourite for the gold medal. If Dasher decides to skip them and instead focus on the re-jigged European Championships in Berlin, she’ll go in as a major threat to Dafne Schippers current supremacy in the 200m.

    We are potentially on the cusp of watching one of the greatest sprinters of all time starting to break into new ground, and it will be a pleasure to watch Dina Asher Smith’s journey. :)

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of rununlimited rununlimited.
    #67970
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    Here we go again. Over-reaction alert.

    Because the majority were so negative towards Dina being selected for London now we get the over-reaction to what she actually achieved, which was excellent but not that surprising. Even if she breaks through the 22 second barrier, which is not an unreasonable hope, she will still have some way to go to beat the best when they are in form. Let’s just wait and see and enjoy.

    #67971
    Profile photo of stevek26
    SteveK26
    Participant

    I think that was a nice summary by Rununlimited, and its a perfectly valid topic for discussion.

    It won’t apply any ‘pressure’ to Dina, since I doubt she reads this forum anyway.

    Dina is without doubt already the greatest female sprinter we have produced. And that on its own is some accolade because Kathy Cook herself was a shining star of UK Athletics.

    How good Dina can get will be fascinating to see. So lets all hope she has a few injury-free years.

    #67977
    Profile photo of ursus
    Ursus
    Participant

    Dina is without doubt already the greatest female sprinter we have produced.

    I’d doubting! How do you figure she’s better than Cook??

    She’s funded, has better kit, runs on faster tracks, has more advanced training techniques, access to better medical facilities etc….The 200’s probably the fairest comparator; despite all those advantages, Dina’s PB is only 0.03 faster. In similar circumstances I reckon Kathy would easily have been 21.xx as I’m sure Dina will be at some point.

    Does she have any individual global medals?

    Is she competing against drug addled Eastern Europeans?

    Will her GB records stand the test of time as Kathy’s did?

    I’d also call the 400 a sprint. Kathy wasn’t too shabby at that, Dina’s best would have her 35m behind.

    Don’t get me wrong. Dina’s great, but Cook takes some beating.

    #67979
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    Barely in the same ballpark as Kathy Cook yet. I hope she gets there.

    #67980
    Profile photo of ladyloz
    Ladyloz
    Participant

    I certainly wouldn’t put her above Cook at this stage. As & when she wins world & Olympic medals we can return to this discussion.

    I also think they’re different in that whilst Kathy had a creditable 11.10 time to her credit she was more of a 200/400 sprinter whereas Dina is a 100/200 sprinter.

    #67981
    Profile photo of ursus
    Ursus
    Participant

    We are potentially on the cusp of watching one of the greatest sprinters of all time starting to break into new ground

    No, we’re not.

    She is now a senior athlete. Her all time world rankings are 94th over 100 (21st as a junior) and 36th over 200 (14th as a junior). Even if 2/3rds of those ranking above her were on drugs, we’re still not witnessing the second coming.

    Hopefully she will get faster (never a guarantee with an excellent youngster) and lower her GB records further. She seems to be a credit to the sport and have a good championship temperament that could well put her in the mix for global medals. That would be an exceptional achievement but scarcely GOAT territory.

    #67984
    Profile photo of stevek26
    SteveK26
    Participant

    Well of course I’m not comparing Dina to Kathy’s 400 career. Dina doesn’t run 400 (yet).

    Barely in the same ballpark as Kathy Cook yet. I hope she gets there.

    Despite the fact that aged nineteen she broke both Kathy’s records (100/200) ?

    She already has a World Junior Gold, European Junior Gold and European senior gold on her CV. And now two senior global relay medals.

    Kathy was 24 when she set her 200 record, Dina was 19 when she broke it.

    Not only is she definitely in the same ball-park, but she has surpassed Kathy in my opinion.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of stevek26 stevek26.
    #67986
    Profile photo of ursus
    Ursus
    Participant

    Despite the fact that aged nineteen she broke both Kathy’s records (100/200) ?

    Would Kathy have run faster at that age given the same opportunities? We’ll never know! If I want to be bolshy about it, Dina has regressed since then…..record books just show performances, not explanations. Everyone is subject to injuries.

    Let’s see Dina, in time, get the same ranking over the laps as Kathy did over 100.

    Joss Buttler can hit the ball miles further than Garfield Sobers did. Better cricketer?

    Wiggins set the hour record on aerodynamic carbon fibre, Eddie Merckx on steel. Better rider?

    #67993
    Profile photo of stevek26
    SteveK26
    Participant

    Ursus

    Kathy was a great sprinter , and one of my all-time favourites. She was unlucky to compete against the Eastern Block, and she retired very young.
    But I can only compare the times she ran and the medals she won. I’m not sure what you mean when you refer to the ‘same opportunities’? Kathy was competing at the very highest level from a very tender age, just like Dina.

    I hope Dina stays injury-free and fulfils her potential. (She certainly hasn’t ‘regressed’).

    #68005
    Profile photo of rununlimited
    RunUnlimited
    Participant

    Here we go again. Over-reaction alert.

    Because the majority were so negative towards Dina being selected for London now we get the over-reaction to what she actually achieved, which was excellent but not that surprising. Even if she breaks through the 22 second barrier, which is not an unreasonable hope, she will still have some way to go to beat the best when they are in form. Let’s just wait and see and enjoy.

    I’m sorry but… whut?!

    An “over-reaction” from me regarding Dina’s future chances would be to suggest that she is a shoe in for inevitable gold medal glory in every major competition she’ll take part in during the next 5 to 8 years!

    Which would be a ridiculous statement to make since the likes of Schippers, Elaine Thompson, Tori Bowie, Ta Lou and several others, would have quite a bit of say on the matter.

    No, what my comment was pointing out is the remarkable level of consistently world class performances from an athlete who won’t be 25 for another THREE years. I’d be very interested in the list of female sprinters who have managed to to get to three global championship 200m finals and in all of them come within spitting distance of grabbing a medal, all before they had hit the age of 23.

    The only person I can think of currently who has done better than DAS at this stage of their career in the past decade would be a certain nobody of great athletic import called Allyson Felix, and maybe you could include possibly Dafne Schippers, who was 23 when she won the 200m gold in 2015.

    But other than that, I struggling to put up a list of young sprinters who have done what Dina Asher Smith has managed… and her 4th place in London last week was remarkable because of how little proper preparation she had for it… What the heck do you think she’d have done with a relatively trouble free lead up to the World Champs?

    I’m not trying to senselessly “flag wave” on DAS’ behalf – I’ve seen my fair share of disappointments from promising junior athletes from these shores who ultimately fail to live up to often over-blown expectations of their potential through a variety of reasons. But seeing Dina Asher Smith’s progression over the last 3-4 years has been an eye opener for me in all my years as a supporter of athletics in Britain, and I really hope that Dina gets the opportunity to display her immense talent on the world stage for a long time to come.

    #68006
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    Despite the fact that aged nineteen she broke both Kathy’s records (100/200) ?

    She already has a World Junior Gold, European Junior Gold and European senior gold on her CV. And now two senior global relay medals.

    Kathy was 24 when she set her 200 record, Dina was 19 when she broke it.
    Not only is she definitely in the same ball-park, but she has surpassed Kathy in my opinion.

    If that was the way to compare athletes from two different eras many of the all-time greats would disappear without trace.

    When Kathy Cook set her National Record of 22.13 in 1982 at the age of 22 she went 6th on the All-Time List. Those ahead of her only the East German druggies Koch and Wockel, Ottey, Ashford and Kratochvilova. Names that stand out in the history of the sport.

    Dina was 34th on the All-Time List when she set her PB in 2015 and 36th now, compared with Schippers 3rd and Thompson 5th. To match Kathy Cook and get to 6th she needs 21.68.

    As far as I’m conerned that’s a different ballpark. Hopefully Dina will bridge the gap, it will be great to see, but it is a big gap.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of laps laps.
    #68010
    Profile photo of fchd
    FCHD
    Participant

    The only person I can think of currently who has done better than DAS at this stage of their career in the past decade would be a certain nobody of great athletic import called Allyson Felix, and maybe you could include possibly Dafne Schippers, who was 23 when she won the 200m gold in 2015.

    How about Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, winning Olympic gold at 21 and the WC the following year

    #68011
    Profile photo of ursus
    Ursus
    Participant

    I’m not sure what you mean when you refer to the ‘same opportunities’?

    Steve, I was meaning the difference between the 1980s and now in terms of fast tracks, facilities, sports science, medical back up etc etc. I’ll bet Dina has already been on more warm weather training camps than Kathy did in her whole career!

    Good post, Laps.

    #68021
    Profile photo of stevek26
    SteveK26
    Participant

    Interesting points.

    I’m not sure comparing all-time lists from the 80’s to all-time lists nowadays works for me.
    I am of the opinion that the Caribbean sprinters and African sprinters have developed and expanded their challenge out of all recognition since the 80’s. Not to mention that there are now another 35 years worth of athletes on that all-time list that Dina has to get past. Realistic comparison?

    I’ve no idea whether the existence of warm weather training camps has any bearing on an athletes progress or potential. But I doubt it.

    #68023
    Profile photo of stevek26
    SteveK26
    Participant

    I would add that Kathy left behind enormous potential in the 400 when she retired.
    An event that might have turned out to be her best. But she retired without (maybe) fulfilling that potential, so we’ll never know.

    #68026
    Profile photo of sovietvest
    sovietvest
    Participant

    I rate Dina very highly – just behind Laura as the best athlete we’ve had this century not to win a global individual medal. Those two are by far our best prospects for the next 5 years – male or female
    Comparing the different eras:
    1) I think coaching is on a par.
    2) Medical back-up is far better now but just makes up for the fact that teenagers entering an elite level training programme are simply not as strong and well-conditioned as kids were in the 70s and 80s due to the different lifestyles.
    3) There’s a lot of talk about the money invested via Lottery Funding nowadays but there was far more money floating around in the past, most of it distributed ‘under the table’ by the likes of Andy Norman or coming from rich benefactors – especially Eddie Kulukundis.
    4) The tracks are faster now. What’s that worth over 200m? 2/10ths? More?? I’m far from qualified to judge.
    5) The opposition Kathy faces was certainly using far more drugs than the current crop of sprinters. I think Thompson and maybe Schippers would have lived with the best W200 runners of 84-88 (excl. Flo-Jo) but there was greater depth back then. (It wasn’t just the GDR and Eastern Bloc athletes doping – Charlie Francis wrote in his book that the US female sprinters were taking far higher doses than the East Germans, who had medically supervised programmes and a more scientific approach).
    So in summary, I don’t think Dina is yet at the level of Kathy in terms of 200m times or performances at global champs. However, I think she will run 21.8 or faster and win numerous medals in the future and eventually eclipse Kathy. I also think, based upon that blazing first 100 in London, we’ll see her close to the medals at the 100 as well.

    #68031
    Profile photo of foxyjarvis
    foxyjarvis
    Participant

    Perhaps this thread should have been titled ‘The Wonder that was Kathy Cook’

    #68044
    Profile photo of rununlimited
    RunUnlimited
    Participant

    The only person I can think of currently who has done better than DAS at this stage of their career in the past decade would be a certain nobody of great athletic import called Allyson Felix, and maybe you could include possibly Dafne Schippers, who was 23 when she won the 200m gold in 2015.

    How about Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, winning Olympic gold at 21 and the WC the following year

    That’s one more then… Anybody else?

    Also, can we just stop to take a moment to realise just WHO we are comparing Dina Asher Smith with? Leaving aside Kathy Cook, we’re using the reigning Olympic 200m champion (Thompson), the now 2X World 200m Champion (Schippers), and one of the greatest female sprinters of all time (SAFP), to try and get a measure of what Dina has achieved in such a short space of time.

    That should tell you lots about where her potential *possibly* could lie.

    #68047
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    Also, can we just stop to take a moment to realise just WHO we are comparing Dina Asher Smith with? Leaving aside Kathy Cook, we’re using the reigning Olympic 200m champion (Thompson), the now 2X World 200m Champion (Schippers), and one of the greatest female sprinters of all time (SAFP), to try and get a measure of what Dina has achieved in such a short space of time.

    Yes in the sense that she has a long way to go to justify the hype.

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