Valerie Adams in the womens Shot Put IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Feature Moscow, Russia

Adams credits her Swiss 'family' for latest success

Valerie Adams has made history by winning an unprecedented fourth World outdoor title, adding another piece of hardware to her impressive trophy cabinet which also features two Olympic gold medals in Bejing 2008 and London 2012, two World indoor titles in Valencia 2008 and Istanbul 2012, and also the Commonwealth Games win in 2010.

She also becomes the first woman to win four consecutive gold medals in any individual event at the IAAF World Championships.   

Adams also belongs to a very selected club of 10 athletes who have won IAAF World titles at all levels having won gold medals at the World Youth Championships in 2001 and at the World Junior Championships in 2002.

Adams backed up a very consistent season with an another impressive series which featured five attempts well over the 20m barrier. She won with 20.88m, and even her second and third best efforts of 20.76m and 20.46m would have been enough to beat German Christina Schwanitz who produced a best release to 20.41. 

“Moscow is a back-up to London. The gold medal is a great present for my coach, who celebrates his birthday today. It’s pretty amazing. I was proud to see the New Zealand flag raised and to hear the national anthem of my country. New Zealand is a small country so far from the rest of the world”, said Adams.

Almost a Swiss Ms

Adams lives for most of the year in the Swiss town of Magglingen where she has been training with Jean Pierre Egger since 2011.

The Swiss trainer guided local Shot Put legend Werner Gunthor to three consecutive World titles in Rome 1987, Tokyo 1991 and Stuttgart 1993; and she now considers Switzerland as her second home and is hugely popular in the small alpine country which is a little short on its own athletics heroes at the moment.

“I have a great team around me and great training conditions. I am trying to continue improving”,

Adams began her successful sports story in her early teens when she broke a regional schools competition shot put record which had stood for 20 years. In 1998, Valerie was introduced to former Javelin thrower Kirsten Hellier and together they began a successful relationship. She was selected to compete at the IAAF World Youth Championships in 1999 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where she finished 10th despite not even having turned 15.

Two years later, Adams won her first major title at the World Youth Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, with 16.87m and went on to win the World Junior Championships gold medal one year later in Kingston with 17.73m.

Teenage talent

Remarkably, just a few weeks later at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester she took the silver medal with 17.45m at the age of 17.

The next step up the ladder came three years later when she won the World Championships bronze medal in Helsinki followed by the Commonwealth Games gold medal with a championships record of 19.66m.

This was the prelude to her domination of the event in the last six years. The peak of her career, so far, came in Daegu 2011 when she improved her career best and Oceania record to 21.24m and equalled the championship record.

With her win in Moscow, Adams has extended her winning streak to 39 consecutive victories dating since August 2010, backing up a very consistent season in which she also collected three IAAF Diamond League wins in Eugene, Paris and London, which has put her in leading position for clinching another Diamond Trophy, and the Diamond League final in her event conveniently will be held once again in Zurich’s main railway station on 28h August where a lot of Swiss fans are expected to support her.

Outside the athletics world, Adams has had plenty more to celebrate recently as her younger step-brother Steven Adams was recently chosen in the NBA draft and is expected to play in the National Basketball Association for the Oklahoma City Thunder next season.

“It’s amazing. He has made the family very proud”, said Adams of her step-sibling’ achievement, noting the fact that despite the USD $60,000 cheque from winning in Moscow and all the other additions to her bank account in recent years, she will possibly soon be not be the highest earning member of the extended Adams family.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF