Dani Stevens has been throwing a discus since she was four years old. In that time she’s won world championships and gold at the Commonwealth Games but Olympic gold still eludes her.
Stevens was always interested in athletics and took naturally to discus and shot put.
In 2005 she went to the World Youth Championships in Marrakesh, collecting gold. The following year she took gold in the World Junior Championships in Beijing before taking Bronze in that year’s Commonwealth Games.
By 2009 Stevens reached the top of the sport when she became the youngest ever female discus World Champion at the age of 21.
She set her sights on the London 2012 Olympics to achieve her ultimate goal of Olympic gold. However, she was unable to find her peak form, finishing 12th overall.
Stevens speaks about her mental preparation and how she has changed her approach since the disappointment of London. Where she used to be concerned with how far she needed to throw, she now concerns herself with preparing as well as she can, allowing her to be focused on competition day.
This episode focuses on how one of Australia’s greatest field athletes prepares herself to perform on the biggest stages, how she ensures she’s physically and mentally ready and how she deals with pressure.
Stevens goes through her physical strength and conditioning which involves weights, high intensity cardio and plenty of throwing. Interestingly she says many discus and shot put throwers have similar attributes to NFL linemen, meaning they are incredibly explosive, often matching sprinters over 40 metres.