Dani Stevens (nee Samuels) was awarded a Scholarship within the 2007 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program and was paired with athlete Member Pam Ryan AM MBE as her Mentor.
Born on May 26, 1988, in the small western suburb of Fairfield NSW, Dani was introduced to athletics from a particularly early age, participating in the little athletics program ‘tiny tots’ as a six-year-old. Dani went on to attend Westfields Sports High School during her adolescence, initially to follow her original passion of playing basketball at the ultimate level. It was her coaches and schoolteachers who kept her involved in athletics, specifically discus and shot put and luckily for Australia, Dani decided to follow the professional athletic route.
She has gone from the humble beginnings of placing 25 out of 27 in her opening World Youth Championships as a year 10 student to being the most successful discus thrower in the Commonwealth, current (2021) National and Oceanic record holder and is one of the rare athletes to have won junior, youth and senior world titles. Through her development under coach Denis Knowles, Dani made her Olympic Games debut at Beijing in 2008 where, at the time, she was the youngest member of Australia’s athletics team and later went on to be crowned the IAAF World Champion in discus the following year; being the youngest athlete ever to do so.
At the 2017 London World Championships, Dani produced her personal best throw of 69.64m. To put this into perspective, this particular result would have won every World Championship since 1993 (12), would have won every gold at the Olympic Games since 2000 and was also the third longest female throw in the world for the last 16 years (2001) yet unfortunately, was only long enough for a silver medal.
Dani qualified for her fourth Olympic Games in 2021 and represented the Australian Olympic Team at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. She placed 14th overall win the discus event.
In October 2021 she announced her retirement from competitive athletics after 4 Olympic Games and 3 Commonwealth Games medals (two gold) and as the youngest-ever female discus World Champion.
Awards, Honours & Achievements
- 2004: Commonwealth Youth Games U18 – gold
- 2004: Australian All Schools Athletics – gold
- 2005: Sydney Australian Youth Olympic Festival – silver
- 2005: IAAF World Youth Championships – gold
- 2006: Melbourne Commonwealth Games – bronze
- 2006: IAAF World Junior Championships – gold
- 2009: IAAF World Championships – gold
- 2010: Osaka Grand Prix – gold
- 2010: Doha IAAF Diamond League Meeting – silver
- 2011: Melbourne Australian Open – gold
- 2011: Shanghai IAAF Diamond League Meeting – silver
- 2012: London Olympic Games – representative
- 2014: Melbourne IAAF World Challenge – gold
- 2014: Glasgow Commonwealth Games – gold
- 2016: Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games – fourth
- 2017: London IAAF World Championships – silver
- 2018: Gold Coast Commonwealth Games – gold
- 2020 (2021): Tokyo Olympic Games – 14th