Dylan Cleaver on sport
Sport analysis and comment from Dylan Cleaver

Dylan Cleaver: Nothing cheap about Adams' effort

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Valerie Adams. Photo / Getty Images
Valerie Adams. Photo / Getty Images

After an Olympic gold, Commonwealth gold and multiple world championships, she's earned the right to expect the public to have faith in the fact she knows what she's doing. When we view tonight's women's shot put as a fait accompli, there's a danger that we devalue the merits of the victory that follows.

Valerie Adams herself has said the quality of shot putting in the Commonwealth is poor.

Well it is, compared with the standards she has set.

Adams is a supreme athlete. If you were to compile one of those pointless lists of the greatest New Zealand athletes of all time, she would still be on a rung looking up at Sir Peter Snell, but there would not be too many others in her way.

Only one other female shot putter, Nadzeya Ostapchuk, has been able to consistently live with her in the circle over the past two years, which included a turbulent year that featured two major separations - with coach Kirsten Hellier and husband Bertrand Vili - and a raft of technical and training changes.

Even under those circumstances, with new coach Didier Poppe she was still ultra-competitive and by the season's end had beaten Ostapchuk at the Continental Cup in Croatia.

It's hard to say what effect that victory had on her psyche: when it comes to her sport, Adams reveals little of her hopes and fears in good times or bad.

But the string of losses to Ostapchuk did seem to have an effect on the psyche of some who started to wonder if she had made a big mistake by changing coaches and methods.

At a press conference before she left for Delhi, Adams expressed some irritation at those, particularly in the media, who expect instant results.

She's got a point. After an Olympic gold, Commonwealth gold and multiple world championships, she's earned the right to expect the public to have faith in the fact she knows what she's doing.

By the time of London 2012 it would be surprising if Adams has not regained her ascendancy over Ostapchuk and the rest of the rivals to her Olympic crown.

She would have got there because she had the courage to change and because she works damn hard.

So when Adams wins gold tonight, don't for a second think it is a "cheap" medal.

- NZ Herald

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