Anybody who has interest in the shot put events must have heard of Valerie Adams, a celebrated New Zealand shot putter who is currently the highest female medalist in the shot-put event.
Valerie has participated in various world championship events and has walked away with the gold many times. She has won the World Championship gold medal three times and World Indoor Championships gold medal twice. She also bagged the Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012. No doubt she’s a well-decorated athlete.
One of the world’s most dominant shot putters, Valerie Adams was born on the 6th day of October 1984 in Rotorua, New Zealand as Dame Valerie Kasanita Adams to a Tongan mother, Lillika Ngauamo, and her father Sydney Adams who is of English descent. Her father, Sydney Adams settled in New Zealand after he retired from the Royal Navy, he had a very active love life and consequently, he ended up with a total of eighteen children from five different women. The youngest among Valerie’s siblings is the well-known NBA basketball player Steven Adams. Apart from Steven, two other brothers are also involved in playing professional basketball in New Zealand but not as well-known as Steven.
Valerie started showing interest in sports right from school, one of her Physical Education tutors who recognize her natural abilities encouraged her interest in sports. The budding athlete’s physical appearance also aided her in sporting activities, she is very tall and has very strong arms suitable for shotput or Javelin throw. Valerie met her first coach Kirsten Hellier, a former Javelin thrower when she was a teenager and she agreed to become her coach in 1998.
Growing up was not so rosy for the promising athlete. Tragedy struck when her mother became sick with cancer. Valerie had to put her education on hold for the sake of her mother, for three months she took care of her mother in the hospice where she battled with the disease. Valerie’s inspiration to take up sports as a profession came when she was in the hospice watching the Sydney Olympic Games of 2000 with her sick mother. She lost her mother shortly after the event, but the seed was already sown in her mind.
Valerie Adams’ Active Days In Sports
Valerie became active in sporting activities and her first major win came when with a throw of 16.87 m, she bagged a title in the World Youth Championship in the year 2002. She paved her way to becoming a rising star when she clinched the World Junior champion, with a throw of 17.73 m. Within a year, Valerie won the silver medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games with a throw of 17.45 m. This win was significant in her life because it motivated her to do greater exploits in future. At the age of 18, Valerie finished in the fifth place at the 2003 World Championship.
The fact that the rising star just had an appendectomy a few weeks before her first Olympics (2004) was a big setback for her, notwithstanding her delicate condition, she participated and finished seventh. Valerie lost the gold to Nadzeya Ostapchuk in 2005 when she finished second at the World Athletics Final, but as luck would have it, Ostapchuk tested positive to drugs and consequently, her results were voided, and rising star – Valerie was promoted to gold.
2006 was a good year for Valerie Adams, she broke the twenty-year-old record of 19.00m in the Commonwealth Games with a throw of 19.66 m and came out with the gold. In 2008, She won the World Indoor Title for the first time in Valencia. A first attempt throw of 19.73 m qualified her for the Beijing Olympics finals and she went ahead to bag her first gold with a 19.73 m throw. With a throw of 20.44m, she defeated Chinese Lijiao Gong and German Nadine Kleinert to win the World Championship in Athletics in Berlin 2009. In April 2010, Valerie changed her coach from Kirsten Hellier who had been coaching her since 1998 to Didier Poppe but unfortunately, she didn’t last long with the new coach and had to take on Jean-Pierre Egger as her coach during the latter part of 2010.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, she lost the gold medal to Nadzeya Ostapchuk, but just like a replay of the World Athletics Final in 2005 Ostapchuk failed the drug test and Valerie became the gold medalist. The gold medal she won at the 2013 World Championships games in Moscow made her the highest female gold medalist in shot put events. Valerie represented New Zealand at the 2014 Commonwealth Games where she emerged as the gold medalist.
Family: Brother, Husband
The renowned shot putter is from a family of 18 and she has three of her siblings in active sports, among which is Steven Adams, a well-known basketballer.
Valerie’s first marriage was with Bertrand Vili, a discus thrower who hails from New Caledonia. Their marriage lasted from 2004 to 2010. Her second marriage was with her childhood friend Gabriel Price on the 2nd of April 2016. The couple is blessed with a daughter Kimoana Josephine Adams-Price born on the 11th of October 2017.
Valerie Adams has quite an intimidating appearance in terms of her bodybuild. She stands at an admirable height of 1.93 m and her weight is a whopping 260lbs (120kg).