The world 200m champion says she felt a sense of relief when the Olympics were postponed
Despite it meaning that she would no longer have the opportunity this summer to build on her world 200m gold medal win from last year, Dina Asher-Smith says she felt relieved when it was confirmed that the Olympic Games had been postponed.
The British record-holder’s normal training regime has been impossible during the coronavirus lockdown, with the track having been replaced by a park and her training partners switching from sprinters to deer.
She describes it as a “peaceful change”, but not one that would have best prepared her for Olympic glory.
“On the day that it was actually announced it was cancelled (the Olympics being held in 2020), I remember feeling relieved, in a way,” Asher-Smith explained.
“I think it had become unfeasible in the situation that we were in at that time.
“I remember thinking: ‘How am I meant to do Olympic-standard training and how am I going to keep up the shape I need and want to be in for the Olympics from training within my flat?”
She added: “Before that, I went through a period like lots of athletes did of disbelief, thinking: ‘No, don’t be silly. It won’t be cancelled.’ Then, as everything got worse, thinking: ‘I don’t know how tenable this is.’ Then gradually just accepting: ‘Yeah, this is pretty unlikely.’”
Speaking with Gabby Logan for the BBC’s forthcoming programme How Dina and Kat Struck World Gold, the 24-year-old was asked about her recent training, having been pictured in a park surrounded by deer.
“The sprinters always joke that we don’t understand how the longer-distance people go on those long runs,” Asher-Smith said.
“When the scenery is so pretty, I was starting to understand it.
“Running in a park and among deer is definitely not what I would normally be doing. My normal training programme consists of a lot of gym, a lot of short, sharp and powerful things.
“It was strange but it was a peaceful change.”
How Dina and Kat Struck World Gold will air on BBC One from 15:00 on Sunday May 31, featuring more from an interview with Asher-Smith as well as conversations with Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Adam Gemili, plus other highlights from last year’s world championships in Doha.
During his interview, 2017 world relay champion Gemili stressed the importance of staying positive during this time.
“You’ve just got to work on staying fit and remember that the situation is not permanent, it’s only temporary,” said the world and Olympic 200m fourth-placer.
“You have to stay positive because if you let your head drop and you let your motivation go down, it’s going to be very hard to get it back up for next year.
“Just try and maintain a good level of fitness and push everything back one year.”