Dane Bird-Smith was a talented all-round junior athlete, not just in race walking, but sprinting. He won a national under-20 title with Queensland as a member of their 4x400m relay. He achieved two top-8 places in the 10,000m walk at IAAF junior events.
In 2009 at the World Youth Championships he placed eighth, and in 2010 at the world juniors, he was fifth. He made his senior debut at the 2012 World Race Walking Cup.
At just 21-years-old he achieved a stunning 11th at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Russia. It was the same course his father and coach Dave Smith had competed on 33 years earlier at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
He continued to progress in 2015 placing eighth at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing and won the World University Games title in Korea. In his Olympic debut in Rio, he was magnificent, placing third and winning bronze in a personal best time of 1:19.37. In 2017 he continued his brilliant form clocking a personal best of 1:19.28 on the years’ major stage, the 2017 IAAF World Championships, placing sixth. It was his third appearance at the world championships and now has placed 11th, 8th and 6th, all better than his father/coach Dave Smith who placed a best of 15th from his two appearances in the ‘80s. In a magnificent 2017 Bird-Smith has also achieved PBs in the 3000m walk, 10km road walk and 10,000m track walk.
In a gutsy effort, at the 2018 Australian 20km walk Commonwealth Games nomination trial, Dane Bird-Smith overcame a cold he had developed on the travel to Adelaide, to win his fourth national title in this event and equal his father’s four title haul in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Dane’s father/coach Dave Smith is a dual Olympian, who made his Olympic debut at the 1980 Moscow Summer Games. He also competed in World Race Walking Cups, World Championships and the inaugural World Indoors in 1985; he won a bronze medal in the 5000m track walk.
Bird-Smith trains with his two dogs Pina (Italian greyhound) and Rocky (Chihuahua).
He married long-time partner Katy, late in 2017 and studies at the University of Queensland completing a Bachelor of Health Sport and Physical Education.