Olympic History: Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020
Highlights: World Youth, University Games and Commonwealth Games champion
Coach: Dale Stevenson
Year Born: 1996
State Born: Queensland
Growing up in the small town of Allora (population 1000), located 60km outside Toowoomba and 150km south-west of Brisbane, Matthew Denny had lots of space to throw things.
When he was in Grade 1 at primary school, he threw bean bags as shot puts and vortexes as javelins, but his main focus as a kid until grade 8-9 was rugby league.
Matthew was one of eight siblings and wanted nothing more than to be just as good as his rugby-playing brothers.
When he started to develop in Athletics in his teens, they built a homemade discus circle on his family’s rural property. When back home in Allora, he still trains in the circle.
Through his teens Matthew developed into one of the finest junior throwers in Australian history, training out of the QE2 Track Club. He dominated the record books and national title lists.
He was also impressive internationally, winning the World Youth (U18) Championships discus title in 2013, followed by finishing fourth the year after at the 2014 World Junior (U20) Championships. He also won a silver medal at the Universiade in 2015.
In April 2016 he won the national discus title with a throw of 60.47m and the hammer title with 68.44m. He became just the second athlete in the near 100-year-history of the event to win this double and the first since Keith Pardon in 1953 – 63 years earlier.
Determined to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics he travelled twice to the US for competitions, eventually qualifying with a mark of 65.37m to move him to fifth on the all-time Australian list. At the Olympics in Rio he threw 61.16m in the qualifying round.
In 2017 he made some changes, including becoming faster and more athletic.
At the Commonwealth Games trials in February 2018, with just 14 hours separating the hammer and discus events, he required just one valid hammer throw to claim the title and automatic Commonwealth Games selection. He also won the Discus.
Matthew became the second Australian athlete to compete in both events at the Commonwealth Games and the first in 68 years, following Keith Pardon who did it at the 1938 and 1950 British Empire Games.
At the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Matthew won silver in the hammer throw with a Personal Best 74.88m and was fourth in the discus.
In 2019 he decided to focus on the discus and came close to his PB with three throws over 65m (and eight over 64m).
In July 2019 he won the World University Games discus title and continued an outstanding year of consistent throwing, placing an extraordinary sixth at the 2019 world championships in Doha. Only once previously at a global meet (Olympics and world championships) had an Aussie placed that high.
In Wellington, New Zealand, he threw a Personal Best of 65.47m and was in a career purple patch in February 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic closed the season.
He started his 2020-21 campaign in December with a couple of solid 63m throws, but unfortunately hurt two ribs and strained his right Costochondral joint causing a pause to his season.
Matthew returned to competition in March 2021 and won the national title with a 63.88m throw, but still remained short of the Olympic standard. With more time to recover and train, Matthew bounced back on the Gold Coast in June when he nailed the qualifier distance with a PB of 66.15m - the third best throw by an Australian ever.
It was a good omen for Matthew's Olympic preparation, in Tokyo he set a new PB of 67.02m on his final throw to place fourth, 5cm from bronze.
His result was Australia's best ever at an Olympic Games, surpassing Benn Harradine's 64m and ninth place at London 2012.
Building on his performance in Tokyo, Matty Denny has become one of the best discus throwers in the world, renowned as a big-time.
In 2022 at the world championships, he placed sixth, just over a metre from the podium, then two weeks later at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham he comfortably won the discus title.
He switched coaches to Dale Stevenson in 2023 and complied an outstanding season. He was fourth at the world championships, raising the Australian record to 68.24m. In his last competition of the season, he won the Diamond League final in Eugene, becoming just the fifth Aussie to achieve this. He also again broke the National record nailing 68.43m.