STYLISH Dina Asher-Smith wants to be a success on the track, the catwalk — and the red carpet.
Britain’s fastest woman and reigning 200 metres world champion will be aiming to run into the history books at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
The 24-year-old’s profile has grown enormously in recent years, boosted by appearances in fashion magazines such as Elle and Vogue.
And now she wants to use her expanding platform to take sportswomen to the next level in the British public’s consciousness.
Star Asher-Smith explained: “Traditionally, sportswomen have been seen as outside of the centre of female culture.
“People maybe don’t really understand sportswomen.
“They see them as people who spend all their lives doing something that they do not necessarily relate to.
“When you think about women’s culture and the change-makers, taste-makers, you think of actors, actresses, celebrities, Instagram.
“You don’t often put sports in that bracket. But on the men’s side, sportsmen are very much part of the conversation.
“For me, it’s about trying to see where we can take sportswomen, all the places where we can get sport to influence.
It’s about seeing how we can get sportswomen into culture. Fashion is the most natural way to do that.”
“Sometimes it’s just getting people to be more active, to understand the philosophies of how we conduct our lives, living in a healthy way.
“Fashion is fun, I enjoy it — but it’s about seeing how we can get sportswomen into culture. And fashion is the most natural way to do that.
“We have the potential to unite different markets. We can have an effect on culture.”
In conversation with World Athletics boss Seb Coe — the first in a series of CSM Group chairman podcasts — Asher-Smith said she rarely uses her Christian name of Geraldina.
Spare a thought for athletics scoreboards around the world if she did!
Asher-Smith, who hails from a “sports mad” family, said: “Nobody really brings up my full name. Nobody knows that.
“It has been Dina my whole life — I didn’t know my own name until I was about four!
“My mum prefers Dina but it’s Geraldina just in case I go on to have a job that requires a long, formal name.
“I’d have shortened it myself. Dina is punchy. I was named after my mum’s school best friend.
“Other might disagree but I think I’m quite normal. Yet obviously my job is different to a lot of people my age.
“But being normal is really helpful for my work.
“If you suddenly start to get swept up in the hype, bow to the amount of people who say you’re fantastic, then you can very quickly become lazy and complacent.
“You think you’re special and think it doesn’t matter, I can do this. It helps to be normal, grounded and grateful.”
As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, Asher-Smith has no major athletics meetings to focus on this year.
All roads now lead to Japan in 14 months’ time.
Asher-Smith admitted she was relieved when the Games were rescheduled in March — because she feared she would not have maintained peak shape during lockdown.
The Olympic bronze 4x100m relay runner said: “By the time it’s Olympic race day, it doesn’t matter what excuses you have — when the gun goes you have to run.
“And I was getting really stressed, thinking, ‘How on Earth can I be in Olympic shape having trained in my living room?’
“I cannot get on a track, I’ve no training partner.
“This will either be the most spectacular thing — or very risky and stressful. So when it was postponed it was such a pressure release — thank God.
“During lockdown, the lack of a training group has been so difficult. I run with a lot of men, so there has been that lack of constant push and intensity which comes with it.
“I’ve been able to do video-call gym sessions with my coaches three times a week.
“Four evenings a week I have scheduled Zoom calls with various friendship groups. I have work tasks, videoing a film there, reading a book — the key is keeping busy.”
The ‘Extraordinary Tales in Extraordinary Times’ podcast is available now from Spotify and Apple.
Source: Athletics - thesun.co.uk