How has Asher-Smith fared this season?
Like everyone else in athletics, the 2020 season following her World Championships success was a strange one. She took part only in a couple of low-key 75m and 150m races at her local track in Bromley, Kent.
This season had seen her return to elite action in some style, going unbeaten in four indoor 60m races and continuing that fine form outdoors. Her most notable victory came when defeating Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Sha’Carri Richardson, of the United States, over 100m in horrible weather at the Gateshead Diamond League meeting in late May.
She won the 100m with ease at the British trials, where she opted not to contest the 200m, although she was set to double up over both events in Tokyo.
She had been confident of winning her first Olympic gold, saying after her 100m semi-final: “Obviously I was not my normal self, but it has been quite a journey, so I’m really proud. The most frustrating thing is I was in the shape of my life – and I can say that with my hand on my heart.”
Who are the main contenders for 200m gold?
Despite her status as world champion, Asher-Smith was not most people’s favourite for gold in Tokyo.
That title goes to Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, of the Bahamas, who has not contested the 200m at a global championships since 2017 but has ditched the longer sprint to concentrate solely on the 200m in Tokyo.
She beat Asher-Smith on both occasions when they came up against each other over 200m in 2019 and is the woman to beat… or, at least, was the woman to beat before Gabby Thomas shocked the athletics world by moving second on the all-time list when running 21.61sec to win the American Olympic trials in June.
Aside from Miller-Uibo and Thomas, the Jamaican trio of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson and reigning Olympic 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah will all be aiming for medals.