125th anniversary of Suffrage in New Zealand

Valerie Adams wins second Olympic gold

6 August 2012

Valerie Adams at the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medal Presentation Ceremony
Valerie Adams at the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medal Presentation Ceremony (Governor-General)

Unlike when she won her first Olympic gold medal in 2008 (when she was known as Valerie Vili), Valerie Adams was unable to enjoy the thrill of victory in the shot put at the London games. Adams’ first throw in the final gave her the lead, but Belarusian athlete Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who had won bronze at Beijing in 2008, overtook her in the second round and extended her lead in the third.

With the four best throws of the competition, Ostapchuk was a clear winner and stood on the top step of the podium at the medal ceremony, with Adams awarded silver. A week later, however, Ostapchuk was disqualified after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Adams received her gold medal in Auckland some weeks later. The Russian athlete who had originally finished third also failed her doping test, and two Chinese competitors ultimately received the silver and bronze medals.

This was not the only time Adams was denied a well-deserved celebration because of Ostapchuk’s drug use. In 2018 she was belatedly awarded a gold medal for the 2010 world indoor championships when the Belarusian’s results between 2008 and 2012 were annulled by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Valerie Adams has won four world championships, four world indoor championships and three Commonwealth Games gold medals in addition to her four Olympic medals – two golds, one silver (at Rio de Janeiro in 2016) and one bronze (at Tokyo in 2021).

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