Dafne Schippers

Born in Utrecht, central Netherlands on June 15, 1992, Dafne Schippers first found fame as a heptathlete, setting a new national record of 6,477 points when winning a bronze medal at the 2013 World Athletics Championships. She was, in fact, the first Dutchwoman to win a medal in the event. However, at the 2014 European Athletics Championships, Schippers won gold medals in both the 100 metres and 200 metres, setting a new national record in the latter event, which lead her to reassess her future in athletics. In preparation for the 2015 World Athletics Championships and the 2016 Summer Olympics, she announced that she would focus exclusively on sprint events, inevitably leading to her nickname, ‘The Flying Dutchwoman’.

At the 2015 World Athletics Championship in Beijing, Schippers set a new national record, of 10.80 seconds, when winning a silver medal in the 100 metres and a new European record, of 21.63 seconds, when winning a gold medal in the 200 metres. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro proved to be a disappointment, with Schippers finishing only fifth behind Jamaican Elaine Thompson in the 100 metres final and occupying the silver medal position behind the same rival in the 200 metres final.

Having voiced her frustration, Schippers parted company with her original coach Bart Bennema – whom she would rejoin in November, 2018 – in favour of Florida-based Rana Reider in preparation for the World Athletics Championships in London in 2017. The new association proved successful, at least for a time. Schippers won a bronze medal in the 100 metres and defending her title in the 200 metres, following in the footsteps of Jamaican Merlene Ottey and American Allyson Felix as one of just three athletes to do so.

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