20 Sep 2012

Beaming Adams gets gold

3:40 pm on 20 September 2012

A beaming Valerie Adams blinked back tears as she received her 2012 Olympics shot put gold medal at a ceremony in Auckland on Wednesday evening.

Adams finished second in the London 2012 Games, but was elevated to first place when her Belarussian rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk failed a drug test.

New Zealand medal winners from the Games stood in a semi-circle around Adams as the Governor-General, Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae, presented the medal and hoisted her arms aloft.

The flag was then raised, and the national anthem sung by students from her old school, before Adams addressed the crowd of 2500 at The Cloud on the Auckland waterfront.

In a brief speech she thanked New Zealanders for their support. "Thank you so much to the public of New Zealand for your love and your support and your continued confidence in myself as an athlete. I do this for you, and I do this for our country. Thank you so much."

Adams was presented with flowers by International Olympic Committee member Barry Maister, who also awarded her the silver medal in London.

She promptly threw the bouquet into the cheering crowd.

The evening ended with fireworks displays in Auckland and Wellington.

Earlier, Adams's sister, Paddy Pupuke-Robati, told Radio New Zealand News the ceremony at the waterfront would be a moment she won't forget.

"It's gonna be loud, maybe some happy tears and just everybody being able to share that moment with her will be just special. For her to do it in New Zealand in front of her own, it's gonna be awesome."

Ms Pupuke-Robati says she is proud of sister - regardless of the colour of the medal she won.

Adams plans to lock the medal in a safe alongside her medals from previous Games.