Australian discus great Dani Stevens retires after decorated 12-year career

Twelve years after changing into the youngest-ever discus world champion, Dani Stevens has known as time on her lengthy and decorated athletics career.

Stevens burst into world prominence on the 2009 world titles in Berlin when she gained discus gold aged simply 21.

No male or feminine thrower earlier than or since had achieved the feat at such a younger age.

She was an ever-present determine on nationwide groups for greater than 15 years and courageously overcame a severe neck damage to contest a fourth Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, equalling the report by an Australian observe and discipline athlete.

Stevens’s spectacular record of achievements included gold and silver medals on the world titles, back-to-back Commonwealth victories in 2014 and 2018 and 14 nationwide discus titles.

She can also be certainly one of solely 9 athletes to have world titles at youth, junior and senior degree — an unique group that additionally contains Usain Bolt, Russian pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva and fellow Australian Jana Pittman.

“I had always said that as long as my mind and body were able to, I would keep going, keep training and keep competing internationally,” mentioned the 33-year-old Stevens.

Dani Stevens mid throw in the discus.
Stevens in motion on the 2018 Commonweatlh Games on the Gold Coast.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

“I took the time a few years ago and decided that I wanted to compete at the Tokyo Olympics for my fourth Games, and I’ve been doing things so meticulously, from training, to nutrition and sleep.

“I’ve gotten to the purpose the place I’m actually content material and proud of the whole lot that I’ve achieved in my athletics career and really feel that now’s the correct time to step away.”

Stevens’s best Olympic campaign was in Rio in 2016 when she finished fourth, missing out on the bronze medal by just 44cm.

The following year she won silver at the 2017 world titles in London behind her long-time Croatian rival Sandra Perkovic with a personal best of 69.64m.

That huge throw would have been adequate to win gold at any of the earlier 12 world championships or previous 5 Olympic Games.

Australia's Dani Stevens celebrates her silver medal in the discus at the world athletics titles
Stevens gained silver on the 2017 World Athletics Championships.(AP: Tim Ireland)

Stevens was forced to undergo spinal surgery in early 2020 after shattering the C4/5 disc in her neck in a gym accident.

After 14 months of rehabilitation, Stevens returned to action and booked her spot on the Australian team for the Tokyo Olympics, where she bowed out in the qualifying round.

Stevens paid tribute to her coach Denis Knowles, who has been her mentor ever since she first took up the sport in Little Athletics.

“He has sacrificed as a lot as I’ve, if no more with regards to time away from household and all that goes together with it,” she said in a statement.

“Denis has been there for me always, via the highs and lows of not simply athletics however of my life.

“We are closer than most athlete and coaches and I believe that’s why we have been so successful.”


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