The saying goes that there is safety in numbers, but sprinter Dina Asher-Smith is determined to add solo success to her Olympic CV in four years time.
Blackheath & Bromley star Asher-Smith is still on cloud nine after being part of the Team GB women’s 4x100m relay team that secured a bronze medal at Rio 2016, with a new British record of 41.77 seconds.
It not only marked a significant improvement for Great Britain after a team failed to even qualify for London 2012, but it also signalled an impressive journey for Asher-Smith too as she was just an aspiring junior, and volunteer, at the time of the Games in the capital.
But despite climbing an Olympic podium Asher-Smith, now 20 years old, has lost none of that determination and failing to add an individual medal in Brazil – finishing fifth in the 200m final – she knows how she can improve at Tokyo 2020.
“Winning a bronze in Rio was so special,” said Asher-Smith, who was crowned European 200m champion in July.
“I remember handing the baton to Daryll [Neita] and thinking ‘run, keep running just stay there! Just stay in third place and we’ll get a medal’.
“She did and it was just one of those unreal moments where it obviously hasn’t sunk in but you start to realise the importance of what has just happened and we did just become Olympic medallists.
“My ultimate ambition is to become an individual Olympic medallist. That would be my life goal. So when I’m 80 I can show my grandkids what I won when I was younger.
“So that is my aspiration, but to get a medal at my first Olympics aged 20 is already more than what I could’ve asked for.
“Every single athlete on the planet, it doesn’t matter what sport or discipline you do, would like to win Olympic gold.”
Asher-Smith was speaking at the SportsAid SportsBall as the charity celebrated its 40th anniversary at a star-studded event in London on Thursday.
And Asher-Smith admits that without the help of SportsAid she might not have climbed the podium in Rio, earlier in the summer.
“I remember when I received my first SportsAid grant when I was around 14 or 15 and it was at the time when I was starting to take things a bit more seriously,” she added.
“Obviously it gets more expensive when you need more kit, to travel a bit further when there’s more competitions, everything gets more demanding and SportsAid were one of the first people who really believed in me.
“So I was always going to be here and pop out for SportsAid to say thank you as, if they hadn’t believed in me then I wouldn’t have become an Olympic medallist.
“Everybody jokes about the bank of mum and dad but that’s what we run off when we are younger athletes and I remember there were times where mum was thinking, ‘do I pay this bill or do I go to this competition?’
“So just to get that help from SportsAid helped my mum and dad immensely and also boosted my confidence.”
SportsAid’s 40th anniversary SportsBall was sponsored by Eversheds and SSE. What will you do to support the next generation of sporting talent? Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk to find out how you can help.