Having taken up rowing at the age of 15 at Geelong College, Joshua Dunkley-Smith went on to compete at three World Championships where he finished 7th as part of the men's eight in 2009, claimed bronze in the eight in 2010 and then won his second bronze in the four in 2011.
Dunkley-Smith was joined by William Lockwood, James Chapman and three-time Olympic gold medallist Drew Ginn as the crew looked to win the first men’s four title for Australia since the 1996 Atlanta Games. The crew showed they would be a force to be reckoned with in London when they won silver in World Cup 2 in Lucerne at the end of May, and then gold at World Cup 3 in Germany.
Their strong form continued into the London 2012 Games as they won their heat by almost three seconds and recorded a new Olympic record, before finishing second behind the British in the semi-final.
In what was an extremely close Olympic final, the Australians passed the halfway mark 0.61 seconds behind the British crew and were 0.69 seconds down with 500m to go. The British crew, buoyed by the home crowd support, managed to pull away slightly as the finish line approached eventually beating Dunkley-Smith and his crewmates by 1.22 seconds. It was the British crew’s fourth consecutive gold medal in the event.
Dunkley-Smith's mother, Addy Bucek is a dual Olympian in sailing - 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Games. He travelled with his mother to the Olympic Games and grew up familiar with the life of an athlete which inspired him to become an Olympian himself.