Despite her diverse social media activities and a large fan community, 400-meter runner Alica Schmidt sees herself primarily as a competitive athlete. The 23-year-old from SCC Berlin is part of the German squad for the upcoming World Championships in Athletics in the USA.
At the World Championships in Eugene from July 15th to 24th, the third of the German championships in the 4×400 meter relay should be used, but possibly also in the mixed relay on the first day of the World Championships. “I’m really looking forward to the experience. I’ve never been to a World Cup,” said Schmidt in her most recent YouTube video from last Sunday.
The athlete is followed by almost 94,000 people on YouTube and has more than three million fans on Instagram. But she is not an influencer, as she tells the German Press Agency on the sidelines of the German Championship (DM) in Berlin at the end of June: “I’m an athlete and I’m happy that so many people are following me”.
In 2017, a headline turned the life of the then 19-year-old upside down. At that time she had the silver medal in the 4×400 meter relay at the U20 European Championships as her greatest success, wanted to make the leap into the U23 squad and dreamed of the Olympic Games.
Until then, an Australian magazine voted her the “hottest athlete in the world” – without even having taken part in a competition, she tells Leichtathletik.de. Within a very short time, her number of followers increased enormously, every step she took was followed, and well-known sponsors signed her up.
Five years later she starts for the SCC Berlin, lives with her boyfriend in Potsdam and is supported by her manager. In addition to her internet presence, she is also studying media and communication management – but sport always comes first. “You just have to set priorities, and for me it’s definitely the sport. Everything else comes after that, and I build that around it.”
Over the full stadium lap, she won the bronze medal in the DM in 52.42 seconds – and was twenty-one hundredths slower than her personal best. The sprinter wasn’t entirely happy about it: “But as a competitive athlete, you’re probably never completely satisfied.”
After she may start at the World Cup in the USA in the national jersey, she would also like to take part in the European Championships, which are also scheduled for summer. “For me, the best thing would be to be part of the home European Championship in Munich and to start in front of a large audience,” explains Schmidt, who competed for MTV Ingolstadt as a youth and would therefore have a real home game in Munich.
About a year ago, her dream of the Olympics came true – at least the long sprinter could get a taste of Olympic air in Tokyo as a substitute runner, but she hasn’t been on the track yet.
“The Olympic Games are something completely different from a European or World Championship. For me it was the most exciting time in which I was able to gain great experiences. I now know the individual processes that can help me on my next international assignment,” says Schmidt.
The 1.75m tall track and field athlete needed 52.21 seconds for the 400m long stadium lap in Braunschweig in 2020, best time – and has not only fought her way into the top of the German long sprinters. International stars like soccer player Mats Hummels or rapper Marteria also have to let them go in a direct duel.
Just recently, she also challenged football star Neymar to a sprint, which then “backed down a little”, as she reports Sport1. The athlete can not only be seen on Instagram and on the track. Recently, she is also in the process of becoming a successful model.
She is now the first track and field athlete ever to be outfitted by Hugo Boss. But she already walked at the Milan Fashion Week in autumn and is now one of the faces of an international campaign by the fashion label.
At least with her online presence and an audience of millions, Alica Schmidt is already number one in the German athletics scene. Malaika Mihambo, Olympic champion and world champion in the long jump, only manages 147,000 followers.
This shows Schmidt as a counter-example to the accusation that German athletics is outdated. From now on, the German Athletics Association (DLV) would like to reach young people more via digital media and with moving images, because “people are interested in people’s stories,” says Idriss Gonschinska, DLV CEO, at the DM.