Dina Asher-Smith will be competing in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay. Dina is the captain of the Team GB Olympic track & field team. She is a fine athlete, a thoughtful journalist, and a commentator on the current world challenges.
Stuart Weir is very proud of this column, and we spoke about her comments on the current world in this column.
GB team captain Dina Asher-Smith on the preparations for her second Olympics and issues she is passionate about
Dina Asher-Smith has been named as the Team GB athletics team captain for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In a selection made by Head Coach Christian Malcolm, Asher-Smith will lead the team and inspired the group with the traditional Team Captain’s speech given at the final team meeting before the games last weekend.
Asher-Smith said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to be on senior teams at championships for eight years now – My first championships were in 2013, the year Christine Ohuruogu made her fantastic speech as team captain which set the bar so high. I’ve told the team to be proud of themselves, deep down proud of themselves, and also to know that the future is not written. They’re probably the most mentally strong, resilient, and resourceful group of athletes to be selected for the Games, they’ve turned over every stone throughout the pandemic and the lockdowns to be here”.
Speaking to the British press a few days before the Games started, Dina revealed that she had been asked by British Airways staff on the flight if she was nervous. Her reply was: “No, what is there to be nervous about?” explaining “I’ve been lining up for races since I was eight years old and I’m very, very good at it. The stakes change, the mechanics change, the precision of it changes, but fundamentally this is something I do week in week out. There’s absolutely nothing to be scared of. What’s scary?”
On her preparations for her second Olympics, she said: “My coach tells me to quell my excitement until the championship and then let it loose. He told me that I can get excited now so you’ll see more energy from me. I’m really excited to get out there. The Olympics is the pinnacle of our sport. I love a show, I love a stage. And I love putting together a great performance when it matters when the lights are really on.”
Asked if she thought the 100 or 200 represented her best chance of gold, she dismissed the question: “I don’t think about best chances. I back myself. Always. I know what I can do. To me, it’s immaterial what people run around you because a championship is a completely different ball game. Everybody has their predictions written down on paper, but we don’t run on paper, we run on the track”.
Asked about the absence of Sha’Carrie Richardson – banned for use of marijuana – Dina commented: “I feel sorry for her because her mother passed away. Rules are rules but the girl was grieving and so my heart goes out to her in that situation. Nobody wants to lose a parent. It’s awful. I said to my mum, ‘If you passed away I wouldn’t have done the trials.’ She said, ‘Don’t be silly, I’d always want you to.’ I’m in no position to tell someone how to grieve, no one is.” But hopefully, we both have very long careers and it’s not just about one person. There are so many talented women who can run incredibly fast.”
She also said that she felt it was inevitable that the IOC would have to back down on its Article 50 ban on any political protests: “Protesting and expressing yourself is a fundamental human right. If you were to penalize someone for standing up against racial inequality how on earth would that go? How on earth are you going to enforce that? When people feel strongly about something, particularly when it’s something that’s so close to your heart – and as a black woman you think about racism – I just think you can’t police people’s voice on that. One of the Olympics’ most iconic moments was the black power salute by Tommie Smith [and John Carlos] way back when. That is something people remember the Olympics for. Something they’re very proud to see at the Olympics. So to think [the IOC] would suddenly get up and say ‘absolutely not’ … I think they’d be shooting themselves in the foot.”
She was also asked about Darren Campbell (one of the GB sprint coaches) calling her the “Silent Assassin”. She said with a laugh: “I didn’t know he said that, but that’s a good description of me. I am naturally very bubbly in personality, but that doesn’t mean that when the time is right I won’t put together a fantastic performance. Honestly, I just like a challenge. I like events, I love the spectacle, I love the idea that even though you might feel tired and emotionally drained, when you get to a championship you still have to perform. It’s me and the track and me and the clock and everything else is just noise. If it’s not helping me run fast then I don’t let it in.”
The women’s 100 prelims are on Friday.