August 24, 2015

BEIJING (AP) Two years ago, Dafne Schippers was a talented heptathlete earning a bronze medal at the world championships.

Now, she is an extremely talented sprinter with a silver medal from the 100 meters, and with her favored 200 still to come.

With progress reminiscent of her big stride in the late stages of her races, many have taken notice of the Dutchwoman since she switched from the punishing multi-discipline event. At 23, she is now starring in races where prima donnas thrive, and where the exposure and financial rewards are much bigger.

''Wow, I am second in the world,'' she exulted Monday, hardly believing what happened to her after only two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was faster.

With a time of 10.81 seconds and a second Dutch national record within two hours, she slashed .22 seconds off her best of 2014.

On Monday, a place in the 100 final already was an achievement, but after getting a sprint double at the European championships had prepped her competition mettle, she knew more was possible.

She got wedged between the Jamaican favorite and American sprinter Tori Bowie in the final lineup. And after the starter's gun, she kept on believing.

''I was reasonably close to Shelly-Ann and I know that in the last phase she's a bit slower than my top speed,'' Schippers said. ''I felt myself getting closer and thought: If I'm close to Shelly-Ann, that means a medal.''

In a discipline dominated by Jamaicans and Americans, Schippers became the first European medalist since Christine Arron of France took bronze in 2005.

Now comes her favorite event, the 200. That's where her slow start is less of a factor and where Fraser-Pryce isn't expected to be in the field.

''I see now,'' Schippers said, ''that nothing is impossible.''

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