Living up to expectations has not always been what Dani Samuels has done well. A world champion before she expected it and was probably old enough to appreciate what it meant she spent a few years dealing with the presumptions that came with her win.
In the last year that has changed. Samuels is throwing as well now as a 26-year-old as she did as a 21-year-old who up-staged a more seasoned field and claimed world gold.
But good form outside of major championships is different to doing it when it matters On a mild night in Glasgow, Dani Samuels married expectation and performance.
Her first throw she sat the field on their backside - 62.30m. As it turns out it would have been enough to win, right there with her first throw. But she did better than that. Her third throw she nailed 64.88m.
“I still get nervous like anyone, but it's about being able to control those nerves and still throw well while you're shaking and winding up. It’s a great feeling and nice to feel confident going out there because I've had a few years where I haven't felt that confident. It’s good to take control of the situation,” she said.
“Something I've been working on is consistency and that's really important coming into championships … it was really important winning in three throws and I'm comfortable I can do that now and I can reach the autos (automatic qualifying marks) which is a very important part of training.
“I feel fantastic, I feel so, so proud and I'm so so happy that I've won my first Commonwealth Games gold medal. I was happy with my eventual result 64.88 and I was just trying to build on each throw and this crowd is absolutely amazing and so many Australian faces and flags and uniforms out there so good and have Eleanor (Patterson) next to me winning gold as well. Great night for Australian athletics, especially females as well.”
Samuels won bronze in Melbourne eight years ago as a teenager, then pulled out of the Delhi Games because of the security threat and so she felt especially keen to do something here.
“You know my story with the Commonwealth Games … so this really means so much for me. I've been training solely for this since last September post Moscow, the World Championships, so this is something I've always wanted to achieve and hopefully can achieve a couple more.”
Missing the finals in Moscow last year was a shake up for her and was the motivation she needed.
“I was really, really disappointed with my performance in Moscow. I didn't think I was ever not going to make the top eight so when that hit me it really fired me up so I went home and made a few changes, just with general training, including more people, more positive people and really having someone who is as accountable as I am. I have a great team around me, everyone is there to help and it's given me the confidence I needed to go out and have a solid domestic season and I feel confident on that.
“I believe now I've definitely stepped up a level, I think that's shown with my consistency this year in the Diamond Leagues and I have a few more to go after this I"m over here (in Europe) for another month and hopefully I can still perform to my best there and then I can turn all my attention to Beijing (world championships) for next year, already looking forward to Beijing next year.”