Dafne Schippers

Dafne Schippers is a dutch athlete who mostly competes in sprints and heptathlon. She is a relative neophyte to the Olympic stage, gradually working her way up through the European Championships. The track and field athlete was born in 1992 in Utrecht. At a young age she exhibited athletic talent and has been active in sports since the age of nine. The twenty-four year old track athlete began being noticed when she won the 2015 World Championships. Her first Olympics she won a silver medal at the 200 metres. Schippers’ improvement has been dramatic. It is still early in her career, but it is clear she will be around for a while. This athlete still is an unknown figure.

         Dafne Schippers is unique in the fact she is tall for a sprinter. She stands at 5′ 10” and a weight of 143 lbs. This has earned her the nick name ” the flying Dutch woman.” After the 2105 World Championships, she now devotes her career to sprinting. Schippers may never return to doing heptathlon. She already has an impressive set of personal bests. Her outdoor javelin throw was 42.82 m and a shot put 14.66 m. Her high jump is 1.80 m (out door)  with a long jump of 6.78 m (indoor). The 600 metres was 7.00 and 600 metres hurdles was 8.18. Her accumulated wins include the World Junior Championships (2010), European Junior Championships ( 2011), European UT3 Championships (2013), and European Championships (2014, 2016). Her Olympic debut saw her come in second. Considering that was her first Olympic competition it was not bad.

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These successes put athletes under scrutiny. Danfe Schippers although new to the sports world has already faced accusations of performance enhancing drug use. The 200 m 21.63 seconds record that amazed spectators caused this criticism. Schippers now holds a record that only Florence Griffith Joyner and Marion Jones had reached. These clams of performance enhancing drug use are baseless without testing. It is true that athletes have circumvented test results, but merely accusing an individual is akin to a witch hunt. Women face extra criticism when their athletic performance improves. It is ironic seeing as men account for the largest number of steroid users. Schippers has said “that it takes away the fun of winning sometimes.” She explained further in a The Guardian interview ” You run a good race, you win and it’s one of the most amazing moments of your life and then you face the questions.” The reason some women athletes are targeted like this is because of their appearance. The sports world still views a muscular woman as an anomaly . They should not be and it demonstrates the amount of sexism still present.

 Her coach Bart Brennema  has put her on a training regimen of weight lifting. This could explain her more muscular appearance. The press however does not care about this fact. Dafne Schippers when competing in Beijing  had acne on her face and back. Dafne claims she has skin health issues. This has been a problem with her since childhood. Schippers has iterated “when they talk about my skin it is painful.” Women athletes are criticized more for their looks rather than their performance. At present there simply is no evidence to suggest she has violated banned substances rules. Dafne Schippers believes that it is more important to keep the spot clean, rather than be critical of the press coverage.

Despite this negativity she continues to move on.  Her new found love of sprinting has given her new perspectives. When asked if she missed heptathlon, she exclaimed : “the girls in the heptathlon are definitely more easy-going and much friendlier.”it appears she desire more challenging competition when she said ”  The sprinters are more like gladiators but I don’t really miss the heptathlon.” Schippers also claimed “she wanted to beat the tough girls.” It is thought that women are not as competitive, but this is not the case. Schippers has told in interviews that some sprinters will give an intimidating stare down at other competitors. She has articulated that it not her style. There are times she showed her frustration at the Rio 2016 Olympics. However, there was no hostility towards fellow athletes. The intensity of international competition causes people to behave differently.

         Dafne Schippers of the track has other pastimes. She has an interest in cooking, food, and nutrition. Schippers   has an affinity for Italian food, but admits pasta is not the healthiest food to consume. She is also is a blogger and regularly writes about recipes. Her athletic talents have given her a new found fame. The new fame Schippers admits takes awhile to get acclimated to. Dafne Schippers  also in her spare time enjoys spending time with her family.  Her mother, father, and siblings have provided a system of support to her . Schippers also loves pets saying walking her dog is one of her favorite pastimes. She has become a Dutch icon in a way. Fans remember seeing her in her teens and it is as if they are growing up with her.

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She does not mind the occasional photograph with a fan. Yet, it still can be overwhelming to a young athlete. The reason her skills are so advanced is that she started at a young age. At age nine she was doing multiple events. Dafne Schippers  played tennis and did gymnastics. Her participation in athletic clubs lead her to a sports career. She admits she never considered doing athletics seriously until she was invited to train with the national team. At age 16 she began to love it and wanted to improve her physical skills.Dafne Schippers also has aspirations of becoming an elementary school teacher. That as she explained had to be put on hold while she was doing training. Schippers is also planning on taking courses in the English language . This sprinter seems to be speeding up on and off the track.

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Dafne Schippers

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