Dina Asher-Smith

After 19 years of working together, Dina Asher-Smith announced on Instagram last week that she had split from coach John Blackie.

Blackie guides Smith to success

Smith noted at the bottom of her Olympics.com biography that she had wanted to be an Olympian since she was eight years old, stating, “When I was eight, I was asked what I wanted to be. I said: an Olympian.”

Guided by Coach Blackie’s mentorship, a young and aspiring Smith underwent a remarkable transformation, evolving into the fastest British sprinter in history. Her lifelong dream was ultimately realized at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Throughout her journey to the Olympics, Smith’s early career was marked by sensational performances, earning her medals at the Commonwealth, European, and World Championships. Coach Blackie was a constant source of unwavering support, standing by Smith through the ups and downs, ensuring she always gave her utmost effort in every challenge she faced.

In one article by The Guardian, coach Blackie was described as a mentor who had an ‘unerring knack of being a horse whisperer for Britain’s greatest female sprinter’.

Coach of the Year

In 2018, Smith was able to clinch four gold medals: three at the European Championships and one at the Commonwealth Games. In the following year, Blackie guided her to ascend to the top of the podium in the 200-meter event at the World Championships in Doha. Later that year, Blackie was named ‘Coach of the Year‘ at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, and Smith was there to present him with the honor.

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In his speech, Blackie said that training Smith had been a pleasure for him. Meanwhile, Smith also commended her coach, saying “John deserves this so much. I found out on Wednesday and I cried on the train.”

“He is so inspirational and so selfless.”

In 2021, Asher appeared for the second time at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, bringing home the bronze medal in the 4 × 100 m relay. 

Dina Asher-Smith Parting ways with coach

However, good things all come to an end. In 2023, almost a month after her dismal eighth-place finish at the 100-meter event and seventh-place finish at the 200-meter event in August,  Smith revealed the heartbreaking news of her split from coach Blackie. In her Instagram, she wrote:

“After 19 years, John Blackie and I have ended our coach-athlete relationship. My life changed by meeting him and I will be forever grateful to him. His intellect, patience and dedication has taken me from an energetic eight-year-old to a World Champion with over 20 international medals and many Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European finals. John and I will, or course, remain close friends.

Thank you to John and thank you to all my team in London whose talents and hard work have helped me realize so many dreams to date.”

After expressing her heartfelt gratitude to her former coach, she announced that she would now be training under Edrick Floréal

“My next chapter will be led by Edrick Floréal based out of Austin, Texas. I am very excited to join his talented training group as we head to Paris 2024. Sending lots of love, D”

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