Saville, from an athletically-inclined family, competed in swimming and surf lifesaving events as well as walking as a junior athlete. She has competed at four Olympics, with a midfield result in 1996. In the 20 km racewalking event at the 2000 Summer Olympics in her home city of Sydney, when heading into the stadium’s tunnel for the final stretch, Saville was disqualified for an illegal gait (lifting: a very common occurrence in race walking – the previous leader of the event had already been disqualified). Saville collapsed in tears; afterwards, when asked what she needed, she replied “A gun to shoot myself”. Saville recovered her composure soon after and was publicly philosophical about her loss.
On her bronze medal in Athens, Saville stated “Nothing will make up for a gold medal in your home town, but you know this is where the Olympics began and any medal here, you know, I’m absolutely ecstatic with it”.
Saville has also won three gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, in the 10 kilometre walk in 1998, in the 20 kilometre walk in 2002 and 2006. She has won the Australian women’s race walking championship five times. She was the Australian flagbearer at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
She is coached by her husband, Matt White, a professional cyclist. She splits her time between Sydney and Oliva, Spain. Her sister, Natalie Saville, is also a race walker and finished second to her at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Saville announced her retirement from competitive racewalking in February 2009, with her future plans including continued work in community health and fitness promotion, and a role on the IAAF race walking technical committee.