Valerie Adams

Athlete Profile

    New Zealand New Zealand
    06 OCT 1984
Valerie Adams in the womens Shot Put at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Shot Put 21.24 Daegu (DS) 29 AUG 2011
Discus Throw 58.12 Wanganui 31 MAR 2004
Hammer Throw 58.32 01 JAN 2002

Personal Best - Indoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Shot Put 20.98 Zürich (Hauptbahnhof) 28 AUG 2013

Progression - Outdoor

Shot Put

Performance Place Date
2016 20.42 Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico) 12 AUG
2015 18.79 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 04 JUL
2014 20.59 Bruxelles (Boudewijnstadion) 05 SEP
2013 20.90 London (Olympic Stadium) 27 JUL
2012 21.11 Luzern 17 JUL
2011 21.24 Daegu (DS) 29 AUG
2010 20.86 Split (Poljud Stadion) 05 SEP
2009 21.07 Thessaloníki 13 SEP
2008 20.56 Beijing (National Stadium) 16 AUG
2007 20.54 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 26 AUG
2006 20.20 Bad Köstritz 27 AUG
2006 20.20 Christchurch 28 JAN
2005 19.87 Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 12 AUG
2004 19.29 Auckland 04 DEC
2003 18.93 Osaka 10 MAY
2002 18.40 Madrid (CM) 21 SEP
2001 17.08 Debrecen 13 JUL
2000 15.72 Auckland (Papakura) 26 JAN
1999 14.15 01 JAN

Discus Throw

Performance Place Date
2005 51.36 Ericsson 08 JAN
2004 58.12 Wanganui 31 MAR
2003 53.15 Dunedin 23 MAR
2002 54.34 Auckland 02 FEB

Hammer Throw

Performance Place Date
2003 57.02 Auckland 22 FEB
2002 58.32 01 JAN
2001 52.20 Hastings 23 FEB

Progression - Indoor

Shot Put

Performance Place Date
2016 19.25 Portland (Oregon Convention Center), OR 19 MAR
2014 20.67 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 08 MAR
2013 20.98 Zürich (Hauptbahnhof) 28 AUG
2012 20.81 Zürich (Hauptbahnhof) 29 AUG
2011 20.51 Zürich (Hauptbahnhof) 07 SEP
2010 20.49 Doha (Aspire Dome) 14 MAR
2008 20.19 Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP 09 MAR
2004 18.22 Budapest (Sportaréna) 05 MAR

Honours - Shot Put

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXXI Olympic Games 2 20.42 Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico) 12 AUG 2016
IAAF World Indoor Championships 3 19.25 Portland (Oregon Convention Center), OR 19 MAR 2016
2nd IAAF Continental Cup 2014 f DNS Marrakech (Le Grande Stade) 14 SEP 2014
IAAF World Indoor Championships 2014 1 20.67 Sopot (Ergo Arena) 08 MAR 2014
14th IAAF World Championships 1 20.88 Moskva (Luzhniki) 12 AUG 2013
The XXX Olympic Games 1 20.70 London (Olympic Stadium) 06 AUG 2012
IAAF World Indoor Championships 2012 1 20.54 Istanbul (Ataköy Arena) 10 MAR 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 1 21.24 Daegu (DS) 29 AUG 2011
1st IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup 2010 1 20.86 Split (Poljud Stadion) 05 SEP 2010
13th IAAF World Indoor Championships 2 20.49 Doha (Aspire Dome) 14 MAR 2010
IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final 1 21.07 Thessaloníki 13 SEP 2009
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 1 20.44 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 16 AUG 2009
6th IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final 1 19.69 Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion) 14 SEP 2008
The XXIX Olympic Games 1 20.56 Beijing (National Stadium) 16 AUG 2008
12th IAAF World Indoor Championships 1 20.19 Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP 09 MAR 2008
5th IAAF World Athletics Final 2 20.40 Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion) 23 SEP 2007
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 1 20.54 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 26 AUG 2007
10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics 1 19.87 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 17 SEP 2006
4th IAAF World Athletics Final 2 19.64 Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion) 10 SEP 2006
3rd IAAF World Athletics Final 1 19.55 Monaco (Stade Louis II) 09 SEP 2005
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 2 19.62 Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 13 AUG 2005
28th Olympic Games 7 18.56 Olýmpia 18 AUG 2004
10th IAAF World Indoor Championships 4q2 18.22 Budapest (Sportaréna) 05 MAR 2004
9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 5 18.65 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 27 AUG 2003
9th IAAF World Cup in Athletics 6 18.40 Madrid (CM) 21 SEP 2002
IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships 1 17.73 Kingston (NS), JAM 20 JUL 2002
2nd IAAF/Westel World Youth Championships 1 16.87 Debrecen 14 JUL 2001
1st IAAF World Youth Championships 10 12.82 Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak) 17 JUL 1999

Honours - Hammer Throw

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
2nd IAAF/Westel World Youth Championships q1 DNS Debrecen 12 JUL 2001

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Updated 30 August 2010

Valerie ADAMS (previously VILI), New Zealand (Shot Put)

Born 6 October 1984
Coached by Didier Poppe

Valerie Adams had a reluctant start in athletics.  Being a shy young woman, who was continually picked upon for her height at school, she did not want to draw attention to herself. But, at the age of 14, she was virtually forced to participate by her Physical Education teacher and she broke a regional schools competition shot put record which had stood for 20 years.

In 1998, Adams was introduced to Kirsten Hellier, and together they embarked upon an immensely successful partnership. Hellier quickly realised that the very characteristics that had marked Adams for taunts and mocking (her height and size) were the foundations for success in her chosen event.

Adams was selected for her first representative team to the 1999 World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and finished 10th with a best throw of 12.82m in the final.

Her mother passed away from cancer in September 2000, just after the opening of the Sydney Olympics, and Adams privately vowed to prove herself on the Olympic stage to honour her memory. Those nearest to Adams suggest that this was a turning point in her life as she became more determined to achieve success. Adams turned to Hellier for emotional support, and the coach/athlete relationship became a tighter bond. Adams also moved into the house shared by Hellier and her husband.

In 2001 Adams won gold in the World Youth Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, with a throw of 16.87m. In 2002, she won gold at the World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, with a throw of 17.73m, almost a metre further than the second-placed competitor.  This led to her first senior competition, the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England. The 17-year-old surprised many back home in New Zealand with a silver medal, throwing 17.45m, only 8cm away from the gold.

A creditable fifth place at her first World Championships, in Paris, in 2003, gave her additional motivation to succeed and valuable experience in the lead-up to the 2004 Athens Olympics.  However, she was unable to honour the promise she had made to her mother’s memory.  Adams was rushed to hospital with appendicitis the week before she was due to leave New Zealand.  Unfortunately, during the surgery, there were further complications which put her participation at the Athens Olympics in doubt.  However, the highly motivated Adams made it to Athens, but finished a disappointing ninth (later improved to eighth after the Russian gold medallist, Irina Korzhanenko, was disqualified after failing a drugs test).  

On her return home, Adams became engaged to, and subsequently married, Bertrand Vili, a New Caledonian discus thrower.

In 2005, Valerie Vili picked up a bronze medal at the World Championships, in Helsinki, and, the following year, at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, she won the gold medal with a Commonwealth Games record (19.66m).

Vili has improved her PB every year since 1999, and first broke through 20 metres at the New Zealand national championships in January 2006.  Her throw of 20.20m was a New Zealand and Oceania Area record. 

She suffered her first defeat of 2006 at the World Athletics Final, in Stuttgart, in September, when she was beaten by Natallia Mikhnevich (née Khoroneko) of Belarus (19.81m to 19.64m).  However, it was not all bad as she had the satisfaction of defeating both the 2004 Olympic champion Yumileidi Cumbá, and the 2005 World champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk.  Vili won the final meeting of the season, the World Cup, held in Athens, with a throw of 19.87m.

2006 ended for Vili with recuperation after an operation to her shoulder.  This recuperation and rehabilitation kept her out of competition for most of the New Zealand 2006-07 summer season.  She returned to competition to win at the IAAF permit meeting in Christchurch (18.32m), and the national championships (18.84m), before embarking on her quest for World Championship glory.

The 2007 World Championships, in Osaka, were a hugely satisfying competition for Vili.  She bettered her New Zealand and Oceania record with a last-round throw of 20.54m.  This throw was dedicated to her father who had passed away only a few months earlier.  It also secured the gold medal for Vili, although she had to endure a nervous wait whilst defending champion Ostapchuk made one final attempt, which fell short.  Vili joined a select group of athletes who have won titles at World Youth, World Junior and now World senior level.

Vili couldn’t repeat her World Championships triumph in Stuttgart at the World Athletics Final (the last international competition of the 2007 calendar) finishing 2nd behind her close rival Ostapchuk, 20.45m to 20.40m.

She has continued to throw consistently throughout the New Zealand summer season, recording victories in 19.24m (John Walker Night - Auckland), 19.72m (Canberra, AUS A-series), 19.66m (Porritt Classic – Hamilton), and 19.78m (Sydney, AUS – A-Series). 

She recorded 20.13m to win the IAAF Permit Meeting in Auckland on 19 February 2008.  This was a special night for Vili as she was also crowned New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year (for the second year running) and the overall Sportsperson of the Year at the Halberg Awards. 

Vili’s last performance before flying to Valencia for the World Indoor Championships was in Brisbane on 28 February, winning the Australian title (19.54m).   Her only previous appearance at the World Indoor Championships was in Budapest in 2004, where she was 5th in her qualifying pool and did not make the final.

However, in Valencia it was a totally different result.  Vili won convincingly with 20.19m while her rival Ostapchuk could not break the 20m barrier.

Vili had been content to get back into base training before the Olympics.  However, she did accept an invitation to compete in the Beijing Olympic stadium nicknamed “The Bird’s Nest” in May.  She won easily with 19.41m but believed that the experience of being at the Olympic stadium was invaluable in the lead-up to the Games.

Valerie rounded out her Olympic preparations with a win (20.08m) in Townsville, Australia, where she has been at a warm weather training camp. The same weekend her rival Ostapchuk threw a world leading put of 20.86m. Vili says “I’ll be out there giving it my best and I know my competitors will be doing the same.” 

Back in Beijing for the Games, a fired-up Vili stamped her mark on the Olympic final from the very first throw. “I was determined to show all my competitors that I meant business... I was there to win!” Her first throw was out to 20.56m, a new personal best, and was never headed.  Arch-rival Ostapchuk was one who did not (or could not) respond to the presence and domination of Vili, only finishing third, well off her best.

Vili competed in Europe after the Olympics and finished off an amazing season with a win in the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.

Vili started 2009 in a position new to her – that of title defender.  This has however not changed her attitude. “I have put in the hard work, and I am there to win”.

The New Zealand Federation brought Ostapchuk to Waitakere in February 2009 to provide Vili with some serious international competition in her home country for the first time.  Vili did not show any preferential treatment, given that Ostapchuk had travelled 36 hours to reach New Zealand. In pouring rain Vili defeated Ostapchuk 20.25m to 19.11m.

After another pleasing training block, Vili accepted an invitation to test herself in the South American Grand Prix series in Brazil.  She returned home having beaten a number of good Cuban throwers, and another top Belarusian (the silver medallist from the Beijing Olympics Natallia Mikhnevich) and with another New Zealand and Oceania record (20.69m from Rio de Janeiro).

Vili showed she was in no mood to be trifled with in Berlin. Her first throw of the qualifying competition (19.70m) easily passed the 18.50m automatic qualifying mark for the final, and was the longest throw recorded. In the final, hometown favourite Nadine Kleinert started strongly with a personal best of 20.20m, and Vili’s opening throw of 19.40m only left her in 4th place. It wasn’t until the 3rd round of the competition that Vili took the lead with 20.25m, which she subsequently improved to 20.44m to seal the victory.

Vili continued her good form in two meetings post Berlin with 20.45m in Thum and 20.41m in Bad Köstritz, before contesting the World Athletics Final in Thessaloniki, Greece. She dominated the competition recording a new New Zealand and Oceania record of 21.07m, winning the competition by more than 1m. “My personal goal this year was to break 21m and I’m so pleased to have achieved it here,” she declared.

On returning home to New Zealand, Vili has been the subject of many honours.  She was voted as New Zealand’s Sportswoman of the Year and overall Sportsperson of the Year for the third year running, a remarkable feat.

Vili started 2010 with a strong performance at the Porritt Classic in Hamilton where she broke her New Zealand resident record of 20.20m with 20.25m. She then readied herself for the World Indoor Championships by competing in the Sydney Track Classic where she improved on her first outing of the season by recording 20.57m.

Vili’s three year unbeaten streak (28 finals from 19 December 2007 to 4 March 2010) was broken at the World Indoor Championships in Doha, with a narrow loss to Ostapchuk. Although Vili set an Area record with 20.49, Ostapchuk upped it with a Championships record 20.85 in the last round.

Upon her return to New Zealand, Vili announced that she would split with her coach of 11 years, Kirsten Hellier. At a press conference Vili choked back tears when making the announcement saying “Kirsten has been so much more than just a coach, she has been an amazing mentor and friend as well. It’s time for me to get some new input into my training”.

After a long period of consultation and reflection, Didier Poppe, the very experienced French field event coach, agreed to become Vili’s new coach. Vili has also recently returned to using her maiden name Adams. With any new partnership there is a settling in period.  Aspects of Valerie Adams’ technique have been worked upon, and her results during her first Diamond League season, whilst still consistently over 19.50m, have yet to reach the heights of the previous three years, along with several defeats at the hands of Ostapchuk.

Personal Best

Yearly Progression
1999 - 14.15; 2000 - 15.72; 2001 - 17.08; 2002 - 18.40; 2003 - 18.93 (AJR); 2004 - 19.29; 2005 - 19.87 (AR); 2006 - 20.20 (AR); 2007- 20.54 (AR), 2008 -20.56 (AR), 2009 – 21.07 (AR), 2010 – 20.57

Career Highlights
1999    10th    World Youth Championships, Bydgoszcz
2001     1st       World Youth Championships, Debrecen
2002     6th       World Cup, Madrid
2002     2nd      Commonwealth Games, Manchester
2002     1st       World Junior Championships, Kingston
2003     5th       World Championships, Paris
2004     8th       Olympic Games, Athens
2005     3rd      World Championships, Helsinki
2005     2nd      World Athletics Final, Monaco
2006     1st      Commonwealth Games, Melbourne
2006     2nd      World Athletics Final, Stuttgart
2006     1st       World Cup, Athens
2007 -    1st       World Championships, Osaka
2007    2nd      World Athletics Final, Stuttgart
2008    1st     World Indoor Championships Valencia
2008    1st    Olympic Games, Beijing
2008    1st    World Athletics Final, Stuttgart
2009    1st    World Championships Berlin
2009    1st    World Athletics Final, Thessaloniki
2010    2nd     World Indoor Championships, Doha

Prepared by Murray Taylor for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2006-2010.