Coach: Dennis Knowles
Discus: 69.64 (London GBR, 13 Aug 2017),
Dani Samuels is one of the few athletes to have won the IAAF World Youth, World Junior and World Championship titles. As a junior, she also won a bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Rio was her third Olympics after her debut in Beijing in 2008. The following year (2009), she shocked winning gold at the 2009 IAAF world championships in Berlin. She became the youngest ever world discus champion.
Over the next eight years, she won World University Games (2009) and Commonwealth Games (2014) titles. She was also on the podium at the 2014 Continental Cup. In Rio, she placed a magnificent fourth, just missing a medal by just 44cm.
Dani was at her very best in 2017. With three 66 metres throws before the London World Championships, she was in good shape. At the world championships, she required just one throw in the qualifying round to progress to the final. In the final two days later, she was very consistent in the competition, until the last throw when she unleashed a monster throw of 69.64m, to secure the silver medal. The performance re-wrote the record books. It was a PB by 1.65m, would have won the last 12 world championships (since 1993), would have won the last five Olympic Games (since 2000), was an Oceania, Commonwealth and Australian records. It was also the third longest throw in the world for the last 16 years (2001).
Dani cruised into 2018 with two comfortable wins in the NSW and Australia championships with throws of 66.02m and 65.30m. Her win in the nationals was her 13th discus title and 17th overall. She was also selected for her third Commonwealth Games.
She is married to former shot putter, Joe Stevens. They lived briefly on the Gold Coast in 2015 & 2016 after Joe relocated there to pursue his career as a doctor. She has a tattoo on her stomach ‘He lives in me’ representing her father, Mark, who died in 2004 in a tragic accident while riding a bike in Mittagong preparing for an ironman. Dani has been coached by Denis Knowles since she was aged 10.
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