Dafne Schippers and her changing fortunes, by Alex Mills


Schippers_DaphneQ1a-Beijing15.jpgDafne Schippers, photo by PhotoRun.net

Dafne Schippers won the European Championships at 100 meters and 200 meters in 2014. Then, Dafne ran 10.92 NR in London DL in July. In Beijing, she took the silver in the 100 meters and the gold in the 200 meters, setting NRs twice in the 100 meters, and a NR in the 200 meters.

Dafne's life has changed. In the Netherlands, Dafne Schippers is a superhero.

Her fortunes could become even bigger with success in Rio.

The former hepthathlete has only be concentrating this season the sprints.

Dafne had a knee problem in Gotzis, and pulled out of the competition.

Her season in the sprints has been nearly flawless.

Here is her story, by Alex Mills.

When Dafne Schippers crossed the line having run 10.81 seconds to reset her national record and claim world championship silver in the 100m, the Dutchwoman must have already realised that things would change once she returned home to the Netherlands. At least for a while.

So when four days later she then smashed her way to 200m gold in a championship record 21.63 seconds, the third-fastest time in history not to mention the fastest in 17 years, it kicked in that things would change period. For better and for worse.

"When I walk down the street with my dog, it's almost impossible" Schippers joked as she took the media through her life changes since Beijing in her pre-race press conference, ahead of her 200m face off with Elaine Thompson and Allyson Felix at the Brussels Diamond League.

"It's all new. It's a crazy world. It's nice, but it takes a lot of energy," she added.

"For now it's a little bit difficult, but I stay relaxed and that's what's important, after all It's also nice when you walk on the street and people see you and they know who you are."

Aside from the struggles of the dog walk and being inundated with media requests, the Dutch athlete says she has been given a new sense of perspective since China. Admitting that even she had not expected to achieve the times that she did.

Though now she has, new standards and new targets have been made, including one day, the world record: "Before the 200m final in Beijing, I didn't know I could run this time, so, I surprised myself," she said

"I'm 23, I have all the time (to break the world record). I hope so. We will see what happens in the coming years. I'm training as a sprinter, it's step by step, I think.

"I hoped to run under 22 seconds in Beijing and I did, it was faster than I hoped. Maybe it (breaking the world record) is possible, but I need some time, that's normal. I think more about it than before."

In the short term however Schippers has the small task of overcoming the strong competition in Brussels. Having been recovering from a slight injury that prevented her from competing at last week's Zurich Diamond League, the world champion says that she feels okay now, and is looking forward to seeing what she and her rivals can do tomorrow: "I feel good, I think all the girls are a little bit tired at the end of the season, that makes me a little nervous."

"I'm a little bit nervous, but that's good... I hope to surprise myself tomorrow"

A year ago Schippers finished third in the same race as Felix took the win, though she insists a lot has changed: "I'm a better sprinter now, I think I'm a better athlete"

"it's nice to compete against the girls and have some fun"

Though she accepted once more that she is done with the multi-events, the 23 year-old said that she was hoping to compete in the long jump again in 2016, though not in the Olympics Carl Lewis style, adding that she believes she can jump 7m+.

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