If you want to be the best, you have to work consistently well all season. You also have to work consistently over the years. There are no short cuts. It takes 12-15 years to make it in our sport, whether you run, jump or throw. Athletics is a global sport, with athletes from over 209 (of the 290) countries compete in our sport. Hard work, drive, focus are key.
Dafne Schippers is a global example. Dafne was a fine multi eventer, and the heptathlon was her home. But injuries and the rigors of the heptathlon were an every ending circle for Dafne. Then, she found that her enormous strength, endurance and speed were helping her speed, from 60 meters to 200 meters. In 2013, Dafne took the bronze in Moscow at the heptathlon. Word got out that she was considering a move to the sprints. In 2014, in Zurich at the European Championships, Dafne Schippers won the 100m and 200m at the European Championships. I loved watching her win over the 200 meters, while still a bit rough, Dafne finished strong and impressed many.
In 2015, Dafne Schippers took the 60 meters indoors at the European Indoors in Prague. Watching her run from my seats in the media section were fun. The tall sprinter got out well and just tore down the track, and another title. At FBK Hengelo, in late May, Dafne breaks 11 seconds for the first time. She does it again during the summer. Her finest race in 2015? Well, after her silver medal in the 100m (another NR), Dafne wins the 200 meters from Elaine Thompson with a perfectly timed dip at the finish. The speed with which Dafne came around the turn should have thrown her off the track, but Schippers stayed in control and willed herself past Elaine Thompson, running 21.69!
2016 was a different. In the 100 meters, Dafne finished fifth, and in the 200 meters, Dafne took the silver, giving her a first Olympic medal. Dafne was not an entirely happy camper after Rio. She had goals for herself and did not achieve them. In the Netherlands, Dafne Schippers who was a star overnight after the 2014 Europeans, had some disgruntled fans as they did not like an athlete from the Netherlands getting upset in public.
Dafne learned from the comments from both fans and media.
In 2017, working with Coach Rana Reider, Dafne Schippers refocused her energy on her skills, speed and strength. By the time of London, Dafne was ready, taking bronze in the 100 meters and gold in the 200 meters. Her 200 meters was bold and exciting. Afterwards, in the presser, Dafne Schippers told @runblogrun that she loved having races each day, ” I like to race.” And she sure showed it.
We have added this Instagram from Tenarife of Dafne doing hill repeats as she builds to the European Championships this coming year. Watch Dafne fly up the hills, and remember this when you watch her charge around the 200 meters in Berlin.