A potentially symbolic athletics moment occurred on Friday outside Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast.

Dame Valerie Adams was leaving a series of media interviews after discussing her Commonwealth Games shot put silver medal, and the joy of having her six-month-old daughter Kimoana trackside to celebrate the moment.

Eliza McCartney was entering to talk about her pole vault silver medal and the trajectory of her career as she joins the international circuit full-time.

The pair embraced or, more specifically, Adams' bear hug engulfed McCartney, whose eyes peeped over the shot putter's shoulder.

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They could just as well have been passing a relay baton between generations.

Adams is the 33-year-old double Olympic and four-time world champion who once reigned unbeaten for 107 consecutive international meets across eight years, nine months and 17 days.

McCartney is the 21-year-old wunderkind who secured a bronze medal on Olympic debut in Rio and brought pole vaulting into the national consciousness for the first time.

Fans may have witnessed Adams' last major performance.

Returning from a Caesarian section birth in October has been one of the biggest challenges in her storied 16-year run. She started full training again in January.

Adams first represented New Zealand at a Commonwealth Games as a 17-year-old in Manchester 2002, where she also secured silver. Victories followed in Melbourne, Delhi and Glasgow.

Valerie Adams' career at elite level has lasted 16 years so far. Photo / Greg Bowker
Valerie Adams' career at elite level has lasted 16 years so far. Photo / Greg Bowker

She recorded a season best 18.70m with her first and best attempt on the Gold Coast. Her personal best of 21.24 was set winning the 2011 world title.

"I cannot ask for more than that, it wouldn't have been possible," she said.

"I didn't know what I was getting into when signing up for this, but I have total respect for every mother out there."

Adams said the help of her family gave her the opportunity to chase these Commonwealth Games.

"Having my child brought to me [afterwards] brought so much emotion. I'm doing this for her. It touched my heart, and I drew motivation.

"That gave me perspective on life and how important it is to build one around a sporting career."

Danniel Thomas-Dodd triumphed with a personal best and Jamaican record 19.36m in the fifth round.

Adams paid tribute to her mother-in-law, Noma Price, who took a term's leave from her job as a teacher aide to look after her granddaughter during work days.

That sacrifice enabled her daughter-in-law to train. Only Adams will know if this represents her final campaign.

Priorities have changed for the world's most dominant female shot putter of any era.

Whatever she decides, her career will be celebrated after mesmerising fans at elite level for half her life.

Eliza McCartney capped her first Commonwealth Games with silver. Photo / Greg Bowker
Eliza McCartney capped her first Commonwealth Games with silver. Photo / Greg Bowker

Conversely, McCartney's athletics prospects are soaring like her vaults.

She earned New Zealand's first Commonwealth Games medal in women's pole vault.

McCartney cleared 4.70m in a duel won by Canada's Alysha Newman at 4.75m.

The human slingshots flung themselves into a balmy evening as adhesive-blackened hands grappled with the pole.

McCartney made her final attempt, to no avail, at 4.80m.

She took solace from Adams' gesture.

"She knows the hard work that's put in, and even to be out there is an accomplishment.

"I know she's proud of me, and it means a lot coming from someone with such an incredible legacy."