Dame Valerie Adams
Valerie Vili Berlin 2009-2.jpg
Adams after her victory at the 2009 World Championships
Personal information
Birth nameValerie Kasanita Adams
Born (1984-10-06) 6 October 1984 (age 37)
Rotorua, New Zealand
Height193 cm (6 ft 4 in)[1]
Weight120 kg (265 lb) (2012)
CountryNew Zealand
Event(s)Shot put
Coached byKirsten Hellier (1998–2010)
Jean-Pierre Egger (2010–present)
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)Outdoor: 21.24 m (2011)
Indoor: 20.98 m (2013)

Dame Valerie Kasanita Adams DNZM (formerly Vili; born 6 October 1984) is a retired New Zealand shot putter. She is a four-time World champion, four-time World Indoor champion, two-time Olympic, three-time Commonwealth Games champion and twice IAAF Continental Cup winner. She has a personal best throw of 21.24 metres outdoors and 20.54 m indoors. These marks are Oceanian, Commonwealth and New Zealand national records. She also holds the Oceanian junior record (18.93 m) and the Oceanian youth record (17.54 m), as well as the World Championships record, World Indoor Championships record and Commonwealth Games record.

Adams was the third woman to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletics event, following the feats of Yelena Isinbayeva and Jana Pittman. She was the first woman to win four consecutive individual titles at the IAAF World Championships. Adams had a winning streak that extended to 56 wins at elite-level competitions, which started in August 2010 and ended in July 2015.[2] She was the IAAF World Athlete of the Year in 2014 and the Track & Field News Athlete of the Year in 2012 and 2013. She had the longest shot put performance of the season every year from 2006 to 2014, bar 2008 when she was second to Natallia Mikhnevich (later banned for doping that year).

Adams won silver medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (amended to a gold after prior winner Nadzeya Astapchuk was disqualified for doping), 2016 Summer Olympics, 2005 World Championships in Athletics, and the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and 2018. She was also a bronze medallist at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships. While still a teenager, Adams was a finalist at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics and the 2004 Summer Olympics.

At national level, she has won fifteen shot put titles at the New Zealand Athletics Championships between 2001 and 2018, as well as having a hammer throw national title in 2003. Adams also won four times at the Australian Athletics Championships between 2004 and 2008. From 2006 to 2012 she was chosen as the New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year seven times consecutively and has been awarded the Lonsdale Cup on five occasions in recognition as the leading national athlete in an Olympic sport.

Adams retired from athletics competition in 2022.


Early career

In 1998 Adams met former javelin thrower Kirsten Hellier, who would become her coach for the next 11 years. Adams first came to prominence when winning the World Youth Championships in 2001, with a throw of 16.87 m. She followed this up in 2002 by becoming World Junior champion, throwing 17.73 m, and gained her first international senior placing with the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, throwing 17.45 m.

She finished fifth at the 2003 World Championships at eighteen years of age. At her first Olympics in 2004, Adams finished seventh (after two athletes' subsequent disqualification), while still recovering from an appendectomy she had just weeks before the competition.

The following year Adams finished third at the World Championships with a personal best throw of 19.87 m. When the original winner, Nadzeya Astapchuk, was disqualified following a 2013 retest of her drug sample from the competition that was found to be positive, Adams' original bronze medal was upgraded to silver.[3] Adams originally finished second at the World Athletics Final in 2005, but was promoted to gold after Astapchuk's results were annulled.[4] At the 2006 Commonwealth Games Adams won the gold medal, breaking the 20-year-old Commonwealth Games record of 19.00 m with a throw of 19.66 m.

First world and Olympic titles

In 2007, Adams went to the Osaka World Championships as a favourite to take a medal due to her being one of only three women to throw over 20 m before the championships. In qualifying, Adams led the field with a throw of 19.45 m. Adams held second place behind Nadzeya Astapchuk throughout the final, but responded well in the last round with a mammoth throw and Commonwealth record of 20.54 m to take the gold. This made Adams one of few female athletes ever to take IAAF[5] World Titles at youth, junior and senior level.[6]

In 2008 Adams broke the Oceania record in winning her first World Indoor Title in Valencia (20.19 m). At the Beijing Olympics, she qualified for the final with the longest distance thrown, 19.73 meters, on her first attempt. She won the gold with a throw of 20.56 m, a personal best, beating Belarusian thrower Natallia Mikhnevich. It was the first Olympic gold medal in track and field for New Zealand since John Walker won the 1500 meter race in 1976. She also won the New Zealand Sports Award of the year in 2008.

At the 2009 Grande Prêmio Rio in Brazil Adams won the competition with a new personal best and Oceanian area record of 20.69 m. The throw was also the world leading distance for the event.[7] In August, Adams won at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin with a throw of 20.44 meters, ahead of the German Nadine Kleinert and Gong Lijiao of China.

At the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships Adams was defeated by Nadzeya Astapchuk by a large margin, in spite of the New Zealander setting a continental record of 20.49 m.[8] Adams announced on 28 March 2010 that she would no longer be coached by Kirsten Hellier after an 11-year partnership.[9] In April 2010 she announced her new coach was Didier Poppe.[10]

Adams was consistently beaten by Nadzeya Astapchuk in the big meetings that season. She set a meeting record and season's best of 20.37 m at the Athletics Bridge meet in Slovakia, later saying that a change in her technique that April had begun to pay dividends.[11]

Later that season she won at the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup with a season's best mark of 20.85 m and also competed at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, where she set a Games record mark of 20.47 m to retain her title. In late 2010 Jean-Pierre Egger took over as her coach from Poppe.[12]

World and Olympic repeat

Adams won the 2011 World Championships equalling the championship record 21.24 met by Natalya Lisovskaya in 1987.[13] At the 2012 World Indoor Championships Adams won the competition with a throw of 20.54 m, a new indoors personal best.[14]

Adams originally won the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics[15] but was promoted to the gold medal after the initial Olympic champion, Nadzeya Astapchuk, failed two drug tests, one a day before the event and the second on the day of the event.[16]

The Belarusian Ostapchuk tested positive for metenolone which is classified as an anabolic agent on the list of banned substances.[16] Adams later recounted how she initially believed Chef de Mission Dave Currie was "telling fibs" upon being told the news.[17] She received the gold medal from the New Zealand Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, at a special ceremony in Auckland on 19 September 2012.

Fourth world title

Adams won her fourth world championship gold at the 2013 World Championships games in Moscow in August 2013.[18] Her fourth gold medal surpassed Astrid Kumbernuss for most all time by a female shotputter and made her the first woman to win four straight titles in an event at the competition.[19] On 27 September, Adams underwent surgery on her left ankle and right knee,[20] and in March 2014 won her third world indoor championship at Sopot in Poland with a distance of 20.67 m. Her gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where she was New Zealand's flag-bearer, was her 54th consecutive event win; the streak began in August 2010.[21]

Later career

Injury caused Adams to withdraw from an attempted defence of her shot put title at the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup and she was ruled out for most of 2015 season for the same reason. During this period she underwent surgeries on her shoulder and elbow in late 2014 and returned for a further operational on her knee in August 2015.[22]

Adams finished second in shot put at the 2016 Summer Olympics with a distance of 20.42 m. She was beaten by Michelle Carter who had a personal best of 20.63 m with her last put of the competition.[23]

In the 2017 New Year Honours, Adams was named a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.[24] She skipped the entire track and field that season due to pregnancy.

Adams came in second in the shot put at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, with a seasonal best put of 18.70 m.[25]

Adams won her fourth Olympic medal in July 2021, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, winning a bronze medal with a best put of 19.62 metres (64.4 ft).[26]

Adams announced her retirement from athletics competition on 1 March 2022, but will continue to coach Lisa Adams.[27]

Personal life

Adams (right) in 2017, after her investiture as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit by the Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy
Adams (right) in 2017, after her investiture as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit by the Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy

Adams was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, to a Tongan mother (Lilika Ngauamo)[28] and an English father (Sydney Adams).[29] Her father, who settled in New Zealand after service in the Royal Navy, had a total of 18 children with five women.[30] Adams' youngest sibling is NBA player Steven Adams, and two other brothers played professional basketball in New Zealand.[30] Their sister, Lisa Adams, is a paralympic champion shot-putter and discus thrower who has cerebral palsy.[31]

Adams was married to Bertrand Vili, a discus thrower from New Caledonia.[32][33] They married in 2004 and divorced in early 2010.[34] Adams married Gabriel Price, a friend since childhood, at Temple View in Hamilton on 2 April 2016.[35][36] The couple have two children: a daughter born in 2017 and a son.[37][38]

She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[39]

Adams' training base is at the Centre national de sport de Macolin in Switzerland.[40]

Personal bests

Event Mark Date Location Notes
Shot put outdoor 21.24 m 29 August 2011 Daegu, South Korea AR NR
Shot put indoor 20.98 m 28 August 2013 Zürich, Switzerland AR NR
Discus throw 58.12 m 31 March 2004 Wanganui, New Zealand
Hammer throw 58.32 m 6 April 2002 Auckland, New Zealand

Seasonal bests

Season Outdoor Rank Indoor
2020 18.81 4th
2018 19.31 7th
2016 20.42 3rd 19.25
2015 18.79 13th
2014 20.59 1st 20.67
2013 20.90 1st 20.98
2012 21.11 1st 20.81
2011 21.24 1st 20.51
2010 20.86 1st 20.49
2009 21.07 1st
2008 20.56 2nd 20.19
2007 20.54 1st
2006 20.20 1st
2005 19.87 3rd
2004 19.29 8th 18.22
2003 18.93 14th
2002 18.40 20th
2001 17.08 68th
2000 15.72
1999 14.15

International competitions

Adams celebrated her first world title in 2007
Adams celebrated her first world title in 2007
Adams competing at the 2011 World Championships
Adams competing at the 2011 World Championships
Adams atop the podium at the 2014 World Indoor Championships
Adams atop the podium at the 2014 World Indoor Championships
Year Competition Venue Position Notes
2001 World Youth Championships Debrecen, Hungary 1st 16.87 m
2002 World Junior Championships Kingston, Jamaica 1st 17.73 m
Commonwealth Games Manchester, United Kingdom 2nd 17.45 m
World Cup Madrid, Spain 6th 18.40 m
2003 World Championships Paris, France 5th 18.65 m
2004 Olympic Games Athens, Greece 7th 18.56 m
2005 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 2nd 19.62 m
2006 Commonwealth Games Melbourne, Australia 1st 19.66 m GR
World Cup Athens, Greece 1st 19.87 m
2007 World Championships Osaka, Japan 1st 20.54 m
2008 World Indoor Championships Valencia, Spain 1st 20.19 m
Olympic Games Beijing, China 1st 20.56 m
2009 World Championships Berlin, Germany 1st 20.44 m
2010 World Indoor Championships Doha, Qatar 1st 20.49 m
Commonwealth Games New Delhi, India 1st 20.47 m GR
Continental Cup Split, Croatia 1st 20.86 m
2011 World Championships Daegu, South Korea 1st 21.24 m CR
2012 World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 1st 20.54 m
Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 1st 20.70 m
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 1st 20.88 m
2014 World Indoor Championships Sopot, Poland 1st 20.67 m CR
Commonwealth Games Glasgow, United Kingdom 1st 19.88 m
2016 World Indoor Championships Portland, United States 3rd 19.25 m
Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2nd 20.42 m
2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Coast, Australia 2nd 18.70 m
2021 Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan 3rd 19.62 m
Revised positions

National titles

Circuit wins

Adams at the Bislett Games in 2011
Adams at the Bislett Games in 2011


See also


  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Valerie Adams". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  2. ^ Alderson, Andrew (5 July 2015). Val Adams finally defeated. The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  3. ^ "Doping: Five 2005 world medallists caught after IAAF retests". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Revision of results following sanctions of Tsikhan and Ostapchuk". IAAF. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Valerie Adams says: Russia ban a favorable step against doping". 6 July 2016.
  6. ^ She was the third after Jana Pittman (2003) and Yelena Isinbayeva (2005). Veronica Campbell completed the set the day after Adams.
  7. ^ Biscayart, Eduardo (18 May 2009). "Vili sets 20.69m Oceania Shot Put record in Rio". IAAF. Archived from the original on 19 May 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  8. ^ Landells, Steve (14 March 2010). "EVENT REPORT – WOMEN's Shot Put Final". IAAF. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Shotput champion Valerie Vili splits with coach". The New Zealand Herald. 28 March 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  10. ^ "Valerie Vili appoints new coach". stuff.co.nz. 13 April 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  11. ^ Juck, Alfons (24 August 2010). "Shot putters rule in Dubnica". IAAF. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  12. ^ "Tough year all worth it, says Adams". The New Zealand Herald. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  13. ^ Landells, Steve (29 August 2011). "Women's Shot Put – Final – Threepeat for Adams, with a 21.14m Area Record". IAAF. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  14. ^ Brown, Michael (11 March 2012). "Adams completes set of world titles". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  15. ^ "Valerie Adams falls short of shot put gold". 7 August 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  16. ^ a b Bryant, Tom (13 August 2012). "Belarus shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk stripped of gold for doping". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  17. ^ "Valerie Adams thought gold medal phone call was a joke". RadioLive. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  18. ^ 14th IAAF World Championships
  19. ^ "David Oliver wins hurdles gold". ESPN. Associated Press. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  20. ^ Adams wins third world indoor title
  21. ^ Leggat, David (1 August 2014). "Commonwealth Games: Golden Val shows she's in a class of her own". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  22. ^ More surgery for Valerie Adams. New Zealand Herald (18 August 2015). Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  23. ^ "Rio Olympics 2016: USA's Michelle Carter wins women's shot put gold with final throw". BBC. 13 August 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  24. ^ "New Year's Honours: Dame Valerie Adams blown away but still has more to achieve". Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  25. ^ "Result – Women's Shot Put Final". Gold Coast 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Tokyo Olympics: Valerie Adams says bronze medal means more than winning gold". Stuff. 1 August 2021. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  27. ^ Chapman, Grant. "Athletics: Olympic shot put legend Dame Valerie Adams officially retires after 20 years on top". Newshub. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Valerie Vili speaks out", hospice.org; retrieved 17 August 2009.
  29. ^ 12th IAAF Championships in Athletics, Berlin 2009 – Pressure free, Vili delivers second World Title Archived 19 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 17 August 2009.
  30. ^ a b Fittipaldo, Ray (7 October 2012). "Pitt big man Steven Adams' backstory is as interesting as his future is intriguing". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  31. ^ "Athletics: Lisa Adams betters world para shot put record". Newshub. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  32. ^ "Valerie Vili speaks out". New Idea. Hospice New Zealand. p. 1. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007.
  33. ^ Taylor, Murray (6 February 2007). "Strong winds suppress results in Hamilton". IAAF. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  34. ^ "Vili changes name after marriage bust-up". The New Zealand Herald. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  35. ^ "Dual Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams weds for second time". Stuff.co.nz. 3 April 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  36. ^ Buckleton, Ophelia (22 July 2017). "Pregnant Dame Valerie Adams a 'machine' at the gym". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  37. ^ "Dame Valerie Adams gives birth to first child, daughter Kimoana Josephine Adams-Price". Newshub. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  38. ^ "'Run over by a bus': Dame Valerie Adams opens up about parenting challenge as she gets first Covid jab". NZ Herald. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  39. ^ Rees, Peter. "Mum's the word for Valerie". Islands Business. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  40. ^ Stuff.co.nz Belarusian cheat dismissed as 'raving mad'
  41. ^ "Royal orders presented at Palace". Matangi Tonga. 1 August 2008. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2022.