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Not even a week has passed since Dina Asher-Smith announced her mentorship changes, but already some of the athletes have made the same career-altering decision to switch coaches, prompting one fan to ask, “It’s the year of the coaching switches, isn’t it?”

Coaching changes

With less than 10 months to go before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris commence, track and field athletes made some pretty big changes in their careers this week.

Starting with the fastest sprinter in Great Britain, Smith opted to leave her coach of 19 years, John Blackie, to train under the tutelage of Edrick Floréal, who’s currently based in Austin, Texas. She penned a heartwarming message on Instagram to let her fans know about the big change and also to thank coach Blackie for helping her realize her dreams.

Next come Laviai and Lina Nielsen—the courageous twin track and field athletes who inspired millions of people with their story of battling with MS, a severe chronic central nervous system disorder that causes vision issues, difficulty walking, and tingling sensations.

Laviai specializes in the 400 m and 4×400 meter events, while Lina competes in the 400 m hurdles. The twin has now decided to train under Tony Lester in Denmark.

In addition, Pozzi will now be trained by former sprint hurdler and Olympic silver medalist Colin Jackson. Pozzi had previously been coached by two outstanding coaches: Malcolm Arnold, Colin Jackson’s former coach, and Santiago Antunez, a Cuban genius who has trained several Olympic winners and super hurdlers for decades.

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Finally, Kristal Awuah has also taken a courageous step toward realizing her aspirations by switching to train under Linford Christie in London.

Michael Johnson’s take on athletes changing coaches

Following the announcement, Michael Johnson, an American retired sprinter who won four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championship gold medals, took to social media to express his thoughts.

A coach is important to an athletes success, but they cannot help athletes produce results beyond their potential, their work ethic and commitment, or their ability to execute on race day. The best coach athlete relationship is a partnership where both parties understand their responsibilities to the relationship and the athlete’s success.”

Several fans agreed with Johnson; one X user said, “Very true. Especially when you become a professional, it’s a 50/50 relationship with your coach. Got to do what works for you as an athlete, and your coach will help you when you get in those ruts.”

On the other hand, one X user asked whether a window of 10 months was enough. Johnson responded that any competent coach would have taken the necessary steps to familiarize themselves with the athlete’s prior program in order to facilitate a rapid transition to a new program.

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