Valerie Vili (later Adams) on her way to winning gold in the shot put at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Vili, the reigning world champion, only needed one throw to qualify for the final. Her first throw in the final was 20.56 metres, her best of the games.
Competing as Valerie Adams, she defended her title at the 2012 London Olympics, but initially finished second behind the Belarusian athlete Nadzeya Ostapchuk. When Ostapchuk was subsequently disqualified for using performance-enhancing drugs, Adams was reinstated as the Olympic gold medallist. At the Rio Olympics in 2016 Adams won silver.
By 2016 Adams had won the elite Diamond League series five times. She is one of only nine athletes to have been world champion at the youth (under 18), junior (under 20) and senior levels of an event.
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New Zealand Herald
Photograph by Kenny Rodger
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