14 Aug 2012

Adams 'speechless' at getting gold after all

12:49 pm on 14 August 2012

Shot putter Valerie Adams says she was speechless when Olympic Games chef de mission Dave Currie phoned her to tell her she had won the gold medal in the shot put at the London Games after all.

The winner on the day, Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus, has been stripped of gold after testing positive for a banned drug. Urine samples indicated the presence of metenolone, which is classified as a prohibited anabolic steroid.

Adams says she was driving when Currie called her and was so overwhelmed she cried. She says she wishes her family could have seen her receive her gold medal on the Olympic podium, but there will be another ceremony at a later date.

Adams says her elevation is taking time to sink in, and probably won't seem real until she has actually been awarded the gold medal.

She says she has run a gamut of emotions from sadness to elation in the past ten days but in the end she has succeeded in her goal of being an Olympic champion and all the grief has been worth it.

With this change, New Zealand moves up a place to 15th on the final London medals table, having won six gold, two silver and five bronze.

The new placings in the women's shot put are: Adams 1, Evgeniia Kolodko (Russia) 2, Lijiao Gong (China) 3.

'The system works'

Adams told the BBC that the decision was "encouraging for those athletes like myself who are proud to compete cleanly... The system works, and doping cheats are caught."

The 27-year-old, who thus retains the Olympic title she won in 2008, says she doesn't have any feelings about Ostapchuk, describing her as history.

Sport New Zealand chief executive Peter Miskimmin, told Morning Report it's a fantastic outcome and vindicates the Olympics testing programme.

The chair of the Auckland Tongan Advisory Council, Melino Maka, says Adams - who is of Tongan descent - has worked very hard to get to where she is and the gold is well deserved.

TAB will honour bets

The TAB is honouring tens of thousand of dollars worth of bets on Adams winning, saying it is in the spirit of her win.

Bookmaker Mark Stafford says the rule is that the TAB pays out on the podium, but as a one-off they are going through the massive task of paying out thousands of retrospective winners.

He says Adams was one of the most popular athletes to bet on, so it it is going to take a while to sort out, but it is unlikely to cost more than $100,000.