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Dane Alex Bird-Smith (born 15 July 1992) is an Australian racewalking athlete. He competes in the 20 kilometres race walk and has a best of 1:19:28 hours for the distance, set in 2017. He competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he was the bronze medallist. Bird-Smith represented Australia at the World Championships in Athletics three times (2013, 2015, 2017) and has appeared four times at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships/Cup.

Dane Bird-Smith
Dane Bird-Smith 2013.jpg
Dane Bird-Smith in 2013.
Personal information
Born (1992-07-15) 15 July 1992 (age 27)
Height1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)
Weight72 kg (159 lb)
Country Australia
Event(s)20 km race walk
Coached byDavid Smith

He was the gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games in 2018,[1] the Summer Universiade in 2015[2] and the Oceania Race Walking Championships in 2018[3] and 2014.[4] He is the son of former Australian Olympic walker David Smith.

He holds the Oceanian continental records for the 3000 metres walk and 5000 metres walk.



Early life and careerEdit

The son of David Smith, an international racewalker, Queensland-born Bird-Smith initially took up athletics but focused on the 400 metres. However he switched to racewalking as a teenager and began to be coached by his father.[5][6] He attended Indooroopilly State High School and St Peters Lutheran College.

Bird-Smith had his first national success in 2008 when he won the Australian youth title. Junior-level titles followed the next year and he also made his international debut, placing eight at the 2009 World Youth Championships in Athletics. He repeated as road and track national junior champion in 2010 and set an Australian junior record of 41:32.36 minutes for the 10,000 metres race walk while finishing fifth at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics. He also made his debut at the 2010 IAAF World Race Walking Cup, but was disqualified from the junior race for foot-lifting. He improved further to 41:02.18 minutes in 2011 and also set an Oceanian record of 40:56 minutes in the 10 km road walk discipline to win the exhibition event at the Oceania Race Walking Championships.[7]

First senior competitionsEdit

Bird-Smith began to take part in senior competitions towards the end of 2011 and on his international circuit debut at the Gran Premio Cantones de La Coruña, ending the race in 13th place. His debut in the 20 kilometres race walk event came in December and he recorded a time of 1:26:38 hours. He bettered this on the 2012 IAAF World Race Walking Challenge circuit, setting a time of 1:23:15 hours in Taicang. He ranked 43rd in the senior 20 km race at the 2012 IAAF World Race Walking Cup before winning his first national title in August.[7]

A second national title came at the 2013 Australian Athletics Championships, this time in the 5000 m walk – an event in which he also set a best of 18:56.96 minutes to rank third in the world that year. He set a personal best at the Oceanian Championships 20 km race, taking second behind his compatriot Jared Tallent and had his first top three finish on the circuit at the Coppa Città di Sesto San Giovanni. A new best of 1:22:03 following at the La Coruña race, where he was fourth overall.[7] This built up to his debut appearance for Australia the 2013 World Championships in Athletics, at which he performed well with an eleventh-place finish, marking his entry into the top tiers of international competition, and also outdoing his father's highest placing at the event.[5] He ended 2013 by defending his 20 km national title.[7] In 2016 Dane won a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio olympics.

Bird-Smith made some quick improvements in the 20 km event in 2014. After winning his first Oceanian title in February,[8] he walked 1:21:01 for third in Nomi, Ishikawa,[7] then achieved a lifetime best of 1:20:27 hours at the 2014 IAAF World Race Walking Cup, ranking 14th.[9] With no other major championships to compete at, he took to the circuit and won the British Grand Prix of Race Walking as well as a third straight Australian 20 km title.[10] He ranked in the global top-25 for the year.[11]

In 2015, Bird-Smith placed fifth at both the IAAF Race Walking Challenge Taicang and La Coruña race, setting a new best of 1:20:05 hours at the latter.[12] This preceded his first ever global gold medal, which the University of Queensland student achieved at the 2015 Universiade, narrowly overturning the lead of Canada's Benjamin Thorne.[13]

Personal bestsEdit

National titlesEdit

International competitionsEdit

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2009 World Youth Championships Bressanone, Italy 8th 10,000 m walk 43:53.62
2010 World Race Walking Cup Chihuahua City, Mexico 10 km walk DQ
World Junior Championships Moncton, Canada 5th 10,000 m walk 41:32.36
2011 Oceania Race Walking Championships Hobart, Australia 1st 10 km walk (junior) 40:56
2012 World Race Walking Cup Saransk, Russia 43rd 20 km walk 1:25:41
2013 Oceania Race Walking Championships Hobart, Australia 2nd 20 km walk 1:22:27
World Championships Moscow, Russia 11th 20 km walk 1:23:06
2014 Oceania Race Walking Championships Hobart, Australia 1st 20 km walk 1:22:39
World Race Walking Cup Taicang, China 14th 20 km walk 1:20:27
2015 Universiade Gwangju, South Korea 1st 20 km walk 1:21:30
World Championships Beijing, China 8th 20 km walk 1:21:37
2016 World Race Walking Team Championships Rome, Italy 4th 20 km walk 1:19:38 PB
12th team 137 pts
Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 3rd 20 km walk 1:19:37
2017 World Championships London, United Kingdom 6th 20 km walk 1:19:28 PB
2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Coast, Australia 1st 20 km walk 1:19:34

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Self, Fiona (8 April 2018). "Dane Bird-Smith walks his way to Games record | Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games". Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Dane Bird-Smith at the World University Games wins GOLD". iRun. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Bird-Smith win 2018 Australian 20km Race Walk Championships". Athletics news. 11 February 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  4. ^ "BIRD-SMITH WIN IN 2014 IAAF RACE WALKING CHALLENGE OPENER". IAAF. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b Gleeson, Michael (2013-08-12). Bird-Smith walks out of father's shadow. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 2015-07-15.
  6. ^ Dane Bird-Smith. Australian Olympic Committee. Retrieved on 2015-07-15.
  7. ^ a b c d e Dane Bird-Smith. Tilastopaja. Retrieved on 2015-07-15.
  8. ^ Johnson, Len (2014-02-02). Tallent's DQ gives Bird-Smith win in 2014 IAAF Race Walking Challenge opener. IAAF. Retrieved on 2015-07-15.
  9. ^ Dan Bird-Smith. IAAF. Retrieved on 2015-07-15.
  10. ^ Heather Lewis and Dane Bird-Smith victorious at York walks – Athletics Weekly. Athletics Weekly (2014-06-09). Retrieved on 2015-07-15.
  11. ^ 20 Kilometres Race Walk – men – senior – outdoor – 2014. IAAF. Retrieved on 2015-07-15.
  12. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (2015-06-06). Liu breaks 20km race walk world record in La Coruna. IAAF. Retrieved on 2015-07-15.
  13. ^ Mulkeen, Jon (2015-07-09). Simbine and Fajdek win World University Games titles in Gwangju. IAAF. Retrieved on 2015-07-15.

External linksEdit