13/04/2024

Dani Stevens and Steve Solomon have been named as the Australian Athletics Team co-captains for Tokyo 2020 Photo: Australian Olympic Committee

Three-time Olympian Dani Stevens and London 2012 Olympian Steve Solomon have been named as co-captains of the Australian Athletics team in Tokyo.

The Australian Athletics Team announced the two co-captains for the Tokyo Olympics on Friday. Naming discus thrower and three-time Olympian Dani Stevens, and 400m sprinter and London 2012 Olympian Steve Solomon.

The Australian Athletics Team headed to Tokyo boasts 64 athletes and is the largest Australian team at this year’s Olympics.

The announcement comes a week out from the Opening Ceremony, at the Australian Athletics Team staging camp in Cairns, with Stevens expressing just how proud she is to be a team leader in an individual sport.

“I’m chuffed, and I was gobsmacked when I was asked to be the team captain. I’m proud to accept that role but I’m also very proud of the team that we have put together,” Stevens said.

“Athletics is an individual sport, and that means that sometimes it lacks a bit in creating immediate cohesion in comparison to team sports.

“I know from my basketball background the camaraderie that comes in a team environment, so by having captains on the Australian Athletics Team, we can lead and create opportunities to bond through games and shared experiences and knowledge.”

Stevens is the most experienced member of the Athletics team heading to Tokyo, now attending her fourth Olympics the one thing that has eluded her in her career is that Olympic medal, after finishing fourth in Rio.

The 33-year-old understands that Tokyo 2020 will be like no other games and that she’ll do everything she can to lead the team through the distractions that wouldn’t be at a normal games.

“Every Olympics I’ve been to has been completely different and I think I’m able to wade through what’s important and what needs to be focused on and what’s not important,” Stevens said.

“When we get there, I know we need to focus on our own competition, but there will be a lot of distractions that aren’t at a normal Olympics.

“As a team, we’ll be prepared to go in there and execute well and be the best team we can be.”

Solomon is no stranger to the role of co-captain, leading the athletics team at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha.

Currently based in Sydney due to the travel restrictions that have prevented several athletes from joining the camp in Cairns, the 28-year-old explained how excited he was to return to the leadership role.

“I’m so excited to continue in this role leading into Tokyo. Our talent is equal to our headcount, and I have great hopes for many spectacular and memorable performances over in Tokyo,” Solomon said.

“Culture is an important part of the Olympic experience. Dani and I want to create a community that feels homely and familiar and one that is underscored by high performance.

“We want each member of our team to feel supported, valued and inspired to bring their best to the Games.

“We want to make sure that each athlete feels at home in Japan and are ready to give their best performances on the track.

“We want to inspire professionalism, we want to create some fun and we want to be the first and biggest cheerleader of our talent and determined group.”

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High Performance General Manager of Athletics Australia, Andrew Faichney believes the pair will strengthen the team as a unit and praised their individual achievements on top of their leadership capabilities.

“The Australian Athletics Team has a proud history at the Olympic Games, but it’s no secret that this Games cycle has thrown us a range of challenges and it is important that we create a culture that supports success,” Faichney said.

“Dani is heading to her fourth Olympic Games, and Steve made the London 2012 finals at the young age of 19. They not only have extensive experience across a multitude of Australian teams, but both have natural leadership skills that will help them build a strong sense of identity among the team in Tokyo.

“I’m honoured to appoint these two athletes into the roles, and I look forward to seeing them draw upon their own individual experiences and build a strong foundation so that when our team arrives in Tokyo, athletes can focus on their individual goals, and know that there is a strong peer support network behind them.”

The Athletics competition will commence on July 30 with the men’s race walking event and will conclude on August 8.

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