The drive behind one brilliant shining star

Twinkle toes: Asher-Smith swears by one-arm press-ups. © Getty

Is self-discipline the secret of success? She is one of the world’s best athletes, but Dina Asher-Smith is also a writer, model and an academic whizz with a razor wit. How does she do it?

At the World Championships in Doha, Asher-Smith has won more than her first world gold. Her silver medals in the 100m sprint and Saturday’s 4 x 100m relay make her the first Briton ever to win three medals at a major athletics’ tournament.

It was an historic week in a career that began aged eight, when a school friend lured Asher-Smith to the local running club with the promise of ice cream.

Aged 17, she won bronze in 4 x 100 metres relay in her first World Championships. Two years later, she became the first British woman to run 100 metres in under 11 seconds.

But while she was breaking records on the track, Asher-Smith was working just as hard at school.

Asher-Smith gained 10 A*s at GCSE, 3 As at A Level and a first class History degree from King’s College London.

She has modelled on the catwalk at Paris fashion week, and starred in a music video for Santan Dave’s “Black”. Appearing on The Jonathan Ross Show, she won legions of fan with her sharp wit and charm.

How can one person be so talented?

In a Tedx Talk last year, Asher-Smith described her overwhelming drive to succeed, built up through years of training.

Is this unshakeable self-discipline the true secret of success?

Fast attractions

No, say many. That’s too shallow. The deeper truth was revealed 10 years ago in the film The Secret. Everything you want or need can be satisfied by believing in an outcome, repeatedly thinking about it, and maintaining positive emotional states to “attract” the desired outcome.

Mumbo jumbo, say others. The real secret to success is nothing more nor less than acquiring and practicing the self-discipline necessary to help you take full and complete possession of your own mind. Dina Asher-Smith is living proof.

You Decide

  1. Is sports the key to success?


  1. What three questions would you like to ask Dina Asher-Smith if you got the chance? Write them down and share them with your friends.

Some People Say...

“The person who acquires the ability to take full possession of their own mind may take possession of everything else to which they are justly entitled.”

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), billionaire and philanthropist

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Dina Asher-Smith, aged 23, is the fastest British woman in recorded history. She grew up in south-east London, where she joined the Blackheath and Bromley Harriers Athletic Club. At Saturday’s 4 x 100m relay at the World Athletics Championships, Jamaica got the gold medal, followed by the UK, while the defending champions, USA, took bronze.
What do we not know?
What sporting feats Asher-Smith might yet accomplish in the future. Her immediate goal is to win a gold medal (or two) at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Word Watch

Ice cream
Asher-Smith’s life is peppered with wonderful stories. She once made her mother promise to buy her a handbag if she broke a certain record.
King’s College London
A university in London, it is ranked in the top 10 universities in the world in the QS World Rankings 2020.
The Jonathan Ross Show
A late-night talk show in the UK.
Tedx Talk
TED invites inspiring speakers to talk about a subject of their choice. You can find many TEDx Talks on YouTube.

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