After making headlines and garnering scores of fans, Alica Schmidt is steadily embracing her newfound celebrity, one Instagram pic at a time. Whether jet-setting around the world in exotic locations, or heating up the race track, this determined German athlete has fans riveted — but she’s far from being thrilled with how she’s perceived. Take a look inside the world of this rising star.
Sudden Fame, Off and On the Track
As coverage of her victories began to skyrocket, young athlete Alica Schmidt would soon be receiving a different type of fame: one stemming from her social media. Schmidt recalled being shocked at the huge influx of new followers on her Instagram page. As the numbers seemed to rise with every minute, her brother told her to check how many websites had written about her. Schmidt was in disbelief.
Dozens of online media outlets wanted to know more about this eye-catching rising star, dubbed the “hottest athlete in the world” by Busted Coverage magazine. Articles in a variety of languages, from magazines across the world, were sharing images from her Instagram. The young running star, had gone viral. The question was: how would it affect her?
The New Face of German Athletics
Alica Schmidt has taken the sports world, and social media, by storm. The young sprint runner has made headlines her athleticism as well as her appearance. Labeled the “sexiest athlete in the world”, her often racy social media posts garner attention across the globe.
While the young runner is active on social media, she is more interested in the world seeing her merit as an athlete. A sprint runner in the 400m division, Schmidt helped Germany take home the bronze medal at the 2019 European Under 23 Championships. This win, along with several others, has placed Schmidt on the path to sports stardom, along with a chance to compete in the Olympics. How did she rise to fame so successfully?
Childhood On the Move
Alica Schmidt grew up in the picturesque Bavarian city of Ingolstadt. The historic city in southern Germany is known for being the home of the Audi car company, as well as the beautiful forests surrounding it. Here in this picturesque location, the young runner discovered her passion for track and field.
Born in 1998, Schmidt’s need for speed became a common theme of her childhood. The athlete recalls always wanting to run, even when her parents would beg her to slow down and walk. Sensing that their daughter needed to channel that energy, Schmidt’s parents began to explore options for their highly active child.
A Star Athlete in the Making
While many children enjoy running, Alica Schmidt’s passion for speed captured the attention of professional women’s sprinting coach Thomas Kremer. He spotted the fast-moving toddler while she was on vacation, noticing that the young girl had a unique body tension. He approached and suggested that her family enroll her in some sort of athletic activity.
Luckily, athleticism was in her genes. Schmidt’s father competed in track and field, and he could already see his daughter’s potential. At just seven years old, the young runner was enrolled in a local athletics club. Soon Schmidt was competing in relay races, long jumps, and even 400-meter races. As her career in running began to take flight, it soon became evident that her small town just wouldn’t be enough to provide for her needs.
Big Moves Come With Big Changes
With her high school days coming to an end, Alica Schmidt began to plan her next move. The athlete realized that if she wanted to achieve her goals — getting all the way up to be able to compete in the Olympics — she would need to get serious about training. While she was attached to her childhood home of Ingolstadt, she knew that larger German cities could provide her with more opportunity.
It was with a heavy heart that Schmidt decided to leave her hometown and move to Potsdam. While there, she began a voluntary social year at the Brandenburg Athletics Association. The athlete admitted that while the drastic move was quite the change, she enjoyed getting to know her new teammates, and was pleased by the improved training conditions. Little did the athlete know just how much farther from home her talents were about to take her.
A New Home Means More Opportunity
Just like her hometown, soon Potsdam became too small for Alica Schmidt’s growing athletic ability. With an increased presence in the junior sprint racing division, Schmidt would again take her talent on the road. This time, the young runner soon set her eyes on a bigger city: the German capital, Berlin.
In Berlin, Schmidt joined the prestigious SCC sports club. Her star potential began to shine with several victories, including winning silver in the 2017 European Athletics Championships “Under 20” category. She then led her team to bronze victory during the same championship in 2019, this time in the “Under 23” category. With so much success at such a young age, fans and sports commentators wondered: what would her next step be?
A Versatile Athlete
One of the secrets to Alica Schmidt’s success is her versatility as an athlete. Never afraid of trying new things, the athlete has competed in a variety of distances. Schmidt runs 200-meter, 400-meter, and 800-meter distances. She also has tried running with hurdles. While the athlete enjoys showcasing her talents in various middle-running categories, she seems to really shine in the 400 meter category, in which she has received multiple medals.
Although the German runner showed great promise as a jumper, she found the 400 meter “more interesting”. She enjoyed the challenges presented by the distance, and the training involved. Yet while Schmidt was slowly paving her path to Olympic stardom, a new hurdle would emerge. It would prove to be far more challenging than anything she had ever seen on the track.
Olympic Goals, Stopped in Their Tracks
Like most professional athletes, Alica Schmidt dreamed of the day when she could show off her prowess at the Olympic Games. Schmidt, along with other athletes, would soon realize that their dreams of international fame would unfortunately be put on ice because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 Olympic Games were originally set to be held in the Japanese capital city of Tokyo. Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic, the sporting event has been postponed to 2021. Nonetheless, with increased amounts of new cases and no vaccine on the horizon, the event’s organizing committee isn’t optimistic. While the measures were needed to safeguard participants and audience members, the news dealt a significant blow to the athletic community. What would athletes like Alica Schmidt do now?
Maintaining Athletic Edge, Even Under Lockdown
With the spread of COVID-19 across the world, countries began scrambling to enact restrictions that could help protect citizens and slow the transmission rate of the highly infectious virus. One solution has been enacting large-scale lockdowns to help prevent the spread of the virus by limiting contact between people. For athletes who train with teammates, dealing with the lockdowns has been particularly difficult. Alica Schmidt was forced to train alone, often opting to run in the local forest.
Unlike many other countries, Germany lifted their lockdown after a relatively short time. It wasn’t long before the athlete was back on the track in the stadium. Her return to the track caught media attention, particularly international outlets from countries where strict restrictions were still in place. Headlines announcing her return were just another example of the runner’s emerging celebrity.
Celebrity in the Instagram Age
Like most young people, Alica Schmidt has an Instagram account which she uses to upload pictures and videos chronicling her life. After purchasing a professional-quality camera, Schmidt began to add pictures to her account. Snapshots of the young woman on vacation, as well as training on the field, soon filled up her Instagram page.
Schmidt admits that she tries to upload pictures where she looks “as good as possible because Instagram is a visual medium”. However, she also posts so that fans can see her true self. In addition to posting pictures of herself, often in revealing outfits, the young athlete also uses the social media platform to connect with fans. This intimacy, unfortunately, would come with some issues.
Revealing In More Ways Than One
With close to 900,000 fans, Alica Schmidt is still learning about the costs of social media fame. While she strives for a strong connection to her fans — often asking their opinions or answering personal questions — this online vulnerability has come at a price.
Schmidt revealed that her almost overnight celebrity status not only frightened her parents, but also caused her to feel great discomfort because of the sudden intrusion into her personal life. She was scared to post, knowing that so many people around the world were following her. Thankfully, her boom in followers would result in a new path for the young athlete.
While Alica Schmidt was initially uncomfortable with how she was being described, she soon realized that her celebrity could help her athletic career. Schmidt admitted that she became grateful for the attention, because it allowed her to build relationships with a variety of corporate sponsors.
As the numbers of fans increased, so did sponsorship requests from companies. As a German athlete with the most Instagram followers, companies of every kind were suddenly flooding Schmidt’s mailbox, begging for her to feature their products on her social media page. She began to choose which ones to endorse. Nonetheless, she sees a great importance in sharpening her brand — establishing the reasons why people ought to follow her.
Walking the Fine Line Between “Influencer” and Athlete
Despite dozens of headlines commenting on Alica Schmidt’s looks, the Bavarian middle-distance runner is adamant that her focus remains on sports. She frequently tells media outlets that while she is appreciative of the fame her social media photos have brought her, she is an athlete first, and not a model.
With the increased focus on her body, the athlete has been approached by the infamous men’s magazine, Playboy. Schmidt immediately turned down the offer, insisting she does not want to be “reduced to my appearance”. Offers to appear in the buff haven’t been the only negative side of her sudden fame. Schmidt would soon encounter yet another downside of media attention.
The Dark Side of Fame
While Alica Schmidt has been able to enjoy the perks of social media stardom, there have also been some moments in her career that were less than picturesque. Many of her photographs often receive inappropriate comments, and the athlete has had many instances of people sending her strange messages in private. In addition to these creepy solicitations, her fame has also led to many gossip magazines writing falsehoods about the young athlete.
One story in particular caused her to feel uncomfortable, because it stated that she said definitively she wanted to win gold at the Olympic Games. Schmidt, who acknowledges that she is still a novice, was worried that stories like that would make her appear as a “megalomaniac”. Thankfully, the German runner has a special team that keep her down to earth.
A Bond Stronger Than Fame
With her ever-increasing fame, and collaborations with large companies, it would be easy for anyone to develop an ego. Thankfully, Alica Schmidt has a strong network of loved ones who keep her grounded. Schmidt often posts heartfelt messages to her friends, thanking them for their friendship. She also posts pictures and videos of them traveling and having fun together.
Another important member of her inner circle is her boyfriend, Fredi Richter-Mendau. The two met while she was living in Potsdam, and have been seeing each other for several years. He’s by her side, but also behind the camera, snapping many of her Instagram pictures. Naturally, Schmidt also credits her parents for helping her in her career. These strong bonds have helped the young athlete bounce back from several giant setbacks.
For Alica Schmidt, reaching her Olympic dreams is no walk in the park. She trains once or twice a day, for almost two hours or more. When she is not practicing on the track, she hits the gym, where she runs on the treadmill. She then takes her workout to the floor, where she does a variety of abdominal exercises, squats, lunges, and other forms of strength training.
According to the athlete, music is the most important part of her training sessions. Schmidt credits music with helping her find the motivation and push to focus. When she is not working out, she enjoys doing yoga and breathing exercises. With such a demanding workout routine, fans were curious if the athlete ever indulges in a “cheat day”.
A Little Indulgence
Despite participating in grueling daily training sessions, sprint runner Alica Schmidt also makes room for moments of guilty pleasure. Followers of her social media page can often find the athlete surrounded by numerous plates of food when she is not on the racetrack.
Schmidt has frequently posted about her fondness for sushi, and her favorite sweet: chocolate. As an athlete, she understands the importance of a healthy and balanced diet, but she also knows it’s not a crime to occasionally treat herself. In many of her Instagram videos, Schmidt often features elaborate meals that she has enjoyed on vacation. Yet while the athlete seems comfortable with her body and her sense of self, that wasn’t always the case.
A Different Woman
Before she was known for her photographs on social media, Alica Schmidt struggled with something common among so many people across the world: low self-esteem. Despite the determination and prowess she so clearly demonstrates, Schmidt was not always the confident woman she appears today.
As a young teenager, she felt “absolutely unhappy” with her appearance. Most of her insecurity came from her weight, as Schmidt felt that she was too skinny. Luckily, as she began to strength-train and run, her acceptance of her body grew. In addition to improving her relationship with her body, she credits sports as making her “mentally stronger and tougher”. This resilience would soon help her move forward after a devastating blow.
In 2018, Alica Schmidt confided to her Instagram followers that she had suffered a debilitating injury to her lower back. The severe injury prevented the runner from engaging in her sport, and even threatened to put an end to her athletic career.
In an interview, she called the injury the “worst thing that happened to me”. For more than three months, Schmidt couldn’t run. She added that the injury affected her mentally too. A promising young athlete, Schmidt didn’t know if she would ever run again. Much to her doctor’s and fans’ delight, the runner was soon healed and back on the track. This event, however, would cause Schmidt to consider a life beyond sports.
Hitting The Books
In addition to rejecting the appearance-based labels being attached to her, Alica Schmidt has continued to prove her worth to the world in any way she can. In 2018, the athlete enrolled herself in the Fresenius University of Applied Science in Idstein, Germany, where she is studying media and communication management via distance learning.
In a variety of social media posts and interviews, Schmidt has stated that she chose to enroll in this program because it allowed her the flexibility to study without forgoing her training regimen. As her sports and modeling career have taken off, Schmidt is often forced to travel. Studying online allows her to pursue her educational goals while pursuing her athletic goals. And she knows being a role model doesn’t stop with her.
No “I” in Team
While Alica Schmidt isn’t often seen with her running mates, she is very thankful for their support. Schmidt frequently posts pictures of her teammates, often huddled under the German flag. In addition to praising them, she is also open about her appreciation for other female athletes that have inspired her.
Schmidt is not only a fan of many European athletes; she also considers American athletes Allyson Felix and Sydney McLaughlin to be among her favorites. Like Schmidt, Felix is also a versatile athlete, competing in the 200m and 400m races. Like the Bavarian runner, young athletic star McLaughlin also competes in 400m hurdles. Beyond sports, Alica Schmidt keenly knows the importance of giving back.
Using Fame for Good
In 2018, a deadly earthquake rattled the island of Lombok, Indonesia. The earthquake was just one of several that would decimate the island, with over 500 people perishing in the aftermath. With over 80% of the island’s structures destroyed and close to half a million people displaced, the population of Lombok was in desperate need of help.
Thankfully, several NGOs stepped in to provide relief and raise money to help rebuild the island. Alica Schmidt, who had been traveling in Indonesia, decided to come and volunteer her time. She insisted on visiting the ravaged island, using her social media platform to help raise awareness for the various NGOs operating in Lombok. She’s proving beauty is far more than skin-deep — but unfortunately, not all can see this.
“Sport Comes First”
While many celebrities would enjoy the media attention Alica Schmidt has received, she feels uncomfortable with what she perceives to be an overwhelming emphasis on her looks rather than her athleticism. In an interview, she revealed that being called “world’s sexiest athlete” left her feeling confused.
She also added that she doesn’t understand why she has so many followers. Although she has successfully secured a partnership with athletic apparel giant Puma, she does not want put an end to her athletic dreams. She admits that while a career in modeling sounds tempting, especially after a difficult day running, she believes that “sport clearly comes first”. She has her eyes set on one prize in particular.
Despite the dozens of photos showing Alica Schmidt jet-setting around the world, the German athlete is proud to represent her country as part of its national team. Schmidt would like to help her country qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, set to take place in summer 2021.
Schmidt frequently posts pictures of her teammates and has stated that being part of the national team, and representing Germany, “makes me so happy”. Her patriotism is often seen in posts on her Instagram, where she uploads pictures of herself enjoying life with Berlin as the backdrop. Although she frequently bemoans the cold weather, fans know there’s no other place she would rather be.
While her name is often mentioned as a possible contender for the now-postponed Olympic Games, Alica Schmidt admits that she is not ready. She acknowledges that she is still a young athlete, and not yet fully prepared to compete in the event.
Schmidt reveals that media reports stating that she would be competing in the upcoming Olympic Games were “a bit early”. She realizes that she will need a lot more training in order to be eligible to compete. Instead, she would like to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. For now, she is focused on the U23 European Championship taking place in Ukraine.
This story was originally published on Tiebreaker: Far More Than Skin Deep: An Inside Look Into Runner Alica Schmidt’s Life
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