Jasmin Stowers keeps a large board hanging on her bedroom wall.
On it, a number – one she gives careful consideration to before deciding upon each year, for it will ultimately define what she does on the track as either a success or failure. Then it sits there, a little memo to herself each day to remind the 26-year-old how fast she hopes – and believes – she can run for 100m hurdles.
“Most years,” she says, “I’ve run faster than what I wrote.”
Ahead of the upcoming season, Stowers admits the slate is blank for now, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t set any specific goals.
While many may refer to 2018 as an ‘off-year’, given the absence of a global outdoor championships, Stowers sees it as anything but, and though she is polite and modest to a tee, she’s doesn’t hesitate when asked what would constitute a successful season.
“I want to win a medal at world indoors, and also become the diamond league champion,” she says to IAAF website.
At 5ft 9in (1.75m), Stowers may be at a natural disadvantage compared to her shorter rivals when it comes to the 60m hurdles, but her ability suggests a medal may be on the cards at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.
Her best time is 7.82, run to finish second at the US Indoor Championships in Albuquerque behind Kendra Harrison last March. It’s a time that would have won silver at the last five editions of the IAAF World Indoor Championships, and Stowers believes she can go quicker.
“My start,” she says, when asked what areas of her race need to improve. “I also need to be more efficient over the hurdles.”
Traditionally a strong finisher, Stowers has been working with coach Dennis Shaver to become more explosive from the blocks, something she will need to be to get on the podium in Birmingham.
“It’s like 10 times the nerves before [a 60m hurdles] because as soon as you leave the start you’re at the finish,” she says. “You have to put together a great race because there’s no time to gain on people.”
Of course, being a medal contender at a global championship is no guarantee of even getting there, something Kenyan marathoners and American sprint hurdlers have in common.
“It’s crazy,” says Stowers. “Our sport is so tough but it makes it 10 times better at the end when you succeed because you know all those efforts and hard days were worth it. You know you can be a medallist once you make it on Team USA.”
Despite being one of the world’s best hurdlers for the past three years, Stowers has never made the podium at the US Outdoor Championships, and due to their first-past-the-post selection policy, has yet to represent her country in a senior global championship.