Alica Schmidt is no stranger to modelling different outfits given she’s long juggled a track career with her title as the ‘world’s sexiest athlete’.
However, the 2022 European Championships in Munich proved no place for a change of wardrobe after the blue-eyed beauty qualified for the semi-finals of the 400 metres. She booked her place in the penultimate stage of her specialty event after running one of her quicker times at the Olympiastadion (52.52 seconds).
Schmidt did so wearing a yellow and black leotard, but that onesie was ditched in favour of a vest-and-trunks combo for Tuesday’s final. The 23-year-old went on to finish dead last in her semi and failed to move onto the final, leading some to criticise her decision to change.
Only once so far this year has Schmidt recorded a slower competitive time in the 400 metres, and some spectators believed the dip in form was down to dress code. Athletics is one of those sports where even the most minute advantage (or otherwise) can mean the difference between winning and losing, and superstitions are rife.
“Don’t mess with good juju Alica,” read one recommendation from Barstool Sports, questioning the mid-competition change. Sports media company Outkick suggested Schmidt was “playing with fire” by switching up her apparel, calling her decision to change a winning formula “inexplicable.”
Their story added: “I’m not saying Schmidt deserved to lose, but she had to know she was playing with fire switching her outfit.
“You don’t wash your uniform during a hit streak and you don’t switch the track outfit until after the finals. I don’t know why sports works that way, but it just does.”
As well as being a successful athlete and model, Schmidt also worked as a fitness coach for Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund during their 2020/21 campaign. But despite a growing portfolio of work outside her first passion, the prospect has maintained her preference is to be a success in athletics.
“I just want to be perceived as an athlete, I want to inspire young people and give them an insight into my beautiful sport,” she told Bild. “The fact that I get to meet so many incredibly interesting people is still unbelievable for me and I am infinitely grateful for all these experiences.”
One such key to success is learning from past mistakes, and Schmidt will know better than most where she went wrong in Munich. It’s debatable as to just how much say her clothes had in that regard, though it’s undeniable there was a stark contrast between her 400-metre displays this week.
While she may not have lived up to her billing at the European Championships, Schmidt is focused on earning a place in Germany’s squad for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The sprinter missed out on selection for the Tokyo Games last year but is building her profile again in the hopes she can feature in France.