STEVENS Dani < Back  
Sport Athletics
CGA Australia   
Gender Women
Born 26 May 1988 in Sydney, AUS
Height1.82 m
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Family Husband Joe
Other names Dani Samuels
Residence Gold Coast, QLD, AUS
Occupation Athlete
Languages English
Higher education History - Western Sydney University: Australia
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She took up athletics at age four in Australia.
Why this sport? She got involved in the sport through Little Athletics in Australia. Coach Hayden Knowles introduced her to discus throw. "He taught me the basics very well. I remember he got me to spin the discus on my finger and we used to practise rolling the discus down the lanes and having competitions as to who could roll it the furthest. He made learning the basics really fun."
Name of coach Denis Knowles [personal], AUS, from 1997
General Interest
Nicknames Sami, Dan, D (online.det.nsw.edu.au, 15 Aug 2009)
Most influential person in career Coach Denis Knowles. (online.det.nsw.edu.au, 15 Aug 2009)
Hero / Idol German discus thrower Franka Dietzsch. (athletics.com.au, 06 Aug 2013)
Injuries In January 2020 she felt pain in her neck while lifting weights at the gym. A week later the pain flared up and an MRI showed that she had a bulging disc in her back that had split in two and was pushing on her spinal cord and her C5 nerve root. In February 2020 she had spinal surgery to fix the problem. (theaustralian.com.au, 01 May 2020)

She missed the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, due to a 14-month rehab period for a back injury. (nswis.com.au, 03 Dec 2019)

At age 19 she suffered a stress fracture of the foot and had to take eight weeks off. She recovered in time to compete at the Australian trials for the 2008 Olympic Games. (IAAF, 21 Mar 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto "Be bulletproof." (olympics.com.au, 26 Jun 2012)
Milestones At age 21 years and 87 days she became the youngest female world champion in discus throw by claiming victory at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany. The triumph also made her the first Australian athlete to win gold in discus throw at the world championships. (SportsDeskOnline, 20 Feb 2020; theguardian.com, 14 Aug 2017)
Famous relatives Her younger sister Casey won a bronze medal in basketball at the 2013 U19 World Championships in Vilnius, Lithuania, while her older sister Jamie has played basketball at club level in Australia. (heraldsun.com.au, 03 Dec 2013; SportsDeskOnline, 28 Jul 2013)
Ambitions To win a medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and to throw over 70m in the discus. (theaustralian.com.au, 01 May 2020)
Other information RECOVERING FOR TOKYO
She took a 14-month break from the sport between May 2018 and July 2019 to rehabilitate a back injury. She then required surgery on a bulging disc in February 2020, which put her participation at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in doubt. Although the rescheduling of the Games until 2021 gave her extra time to regain her fitness, she revealed that she was more concerned about recovering full function of her body. "Athletics is one thing, but I was thinking more in regard to me as a person and day-to-day life. I couldn't lift my right arm above 90 degrees. So it was pretty significant. I was in a lot of pain with my neck and not being able to function properly. After undergoing surgery and then rehabbing, to hear that the Olympics had been postponed was a bit of a relief for me. I was grateful for the extra time as I now have an extra 12 months to prepare for the Olympics. I was going to be hard up against the deadline for the Olympics this year but we were still confident I was going to make it. I am a little bit grateful to be able to prepare and be in the best shape possible." (worldathletics.org, 20 Jun 2020; theaustralian.com.au, 01 May 2020; nswathletics.org.au, 01 Dec 2019)

LUCKY ESCAPE
She was hospitalised at age seven after drinking from a bottle of turpentine, a solvent used to produce varnishes in carpentry. "I accidentally drank a bottle of turps [turpentine] and I was rushed to hospital to get my stomach pumped. My father was a cabinet maker and he was busy polishing a cabinet back home when I was in the garage and thirsty. I picked up a spray bottle of turps, thinking it was water, and started drinking from it. I went blue in the face and milk was poured down my throat to stop me vomiting. I was rushed to hospital and stayed overnight, but thankfully I was fine. I learned my lesson to never drink from an unmarked bottle in the home of a cabinet maker." (spikes.iaaf.org, 30 Mar 2016)

PERSONAL LOSS
In 2004 her father Mark was killed after being hit by a lorry while on a training cycle for an Ironman competition. She has 'He lives in me' tattooed on her stomach, and dedicated her victory in discus throw at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany, to her father. (heraldsun.com.au, 22 Jul 2011; couriermail.com.au, 23 Aug 2009)