Tokyo Olympics: Dame Valerie Adams (Athletics)

  • 01/01/2021

Dame Valerie Adams

Age: 36

Height: 1.93m 

Event: Shot Put

Born: October 6, 1984 

Coach: Dale Stevenson   

Previous Olympics: 2004, 2008 (gold), 2012 (gold), 2016 (silver)

Dame Val Adams heads to her record-breaking fifth Games as one of New Zealand's most decorated Olympians, hunting for a fourth medal, after two gold and one silver.

After two world junior titles, Adams placed seventh at her first Olympics - Athens 2004 - as a teeanger.

She claimed her first senior medal at the 2005 world championships, with a personal best throw of 19.87m for bronze, before claiming silver at the world athletics final later that year. Both placings were elevated a spot, when historical drug testing disqualified Nadzeya Astapchuk of Belarus.

The Rotorua native shot to fame with the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medal, breaking a 20-year-old Games record with a massive throw of 19.66m.

From there, she never looked back, winning gold at the 2007 Osaka world championships to become one of the few female athletes to take titles at youth, junior and senior level. 

Adams broke the Oceania record for her first world indoor title at Valencia, before her first Olympic gold medal at Beijing 2008 with a personal best throw of 20.56m - the first NZ athletics champion since Sir John Walker won the 1500m at Montreal 1976.

The 36-year-old captured her second Commonwealth Games gold medal at Dehli 2010, but was shocked by Astapchuk at the 2012 London Olympics, before her rival failed two drugs tests to hand back the title. Adams was later presented the gold medal by NZ Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae in a ceremony held at Auckland’s 'Cloud'.

The Kiwi won her fourth world title at Moscow in 2013, becoming the first women to win four straight titles. 

Adams returned the following year for gold at the world indoor championships and Commonwealth Games - where she was New Zealand's flagbearer - which gave her a 54 consecutive event wins. 

Adams was just beaten by Michelle Carter at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, but her decorated career was capped off by being awarded a Dame Companion in the 2017 New Years Honours. 

She returned from the birth of her first child  - a daughter - to capture a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and has since added a son to her family.