Valerie Adams: 'I do this for you'

Olympic Gold medallist Valerie Adams receives her London Olympic Medal in Auckland celebrating with her supporters on Wednesday night at the Cloud. Photo / Greg Bowker
Olympic Gold medallist Valerie Adams receives her London Olympic Medal in Auckland celebrating with her supporters on Wednesday night at the Cloud. Photo / Greg Bowker

In an emotional ceremony at The Cloud on Auckland's waterfront, champion shot putter Valerie Adams has been presented with her long-awaited gold medal.

Adams had tears in her eyes as she was given the medal by Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae before a crowd of some 2500 this evening.

"Thank you so much to the public of New Zealand for your love and support and your continued confidence in myself as an athlete; I do this for you and I do this for our country,'' she said, before tossing her bouquet of flowers into the cheering crowd.

The Southern Cross Campus choir from Adams' former high school performed the national anthem as the New Zealand flag was raised and Adams savoured the moment.

An impressive fireworks display over Auckland's harbour heralded the event. It is the first time an Olympic gold medal has been presented to an athlete on New Zealand soil, and makes Adams a double Olympic champion.

Sir Jerry said the medal symbolised an outstanding individual achievement.

"I trust that this modest ritual will go someway in giving you the acknowledgement, the satisfaction and the honour that you rightfully deserve,'' he said.

"In my mind it sets right the recognition of your efforts in the competition that was decided at the Olympic Games in London on the 6th of August.''

It has been more than a month since Adams competed in the final of the shot put event at the London Games. A drawn-out saga eventually saw disgraced Belarus' shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk stripped of the gold medal for drug use.

Draped in a New Zealand flag, Adams told TV3's Campbell Live the ceremony was "amazing''.

The only regret was that her coach, Jean-Pierre Egger, could not be there.

"What better place to have it [the ceremony] than my own country and I'm glad that this [medal] is around my neck now. Now I can eat the chocolate one that Jean-Pierre gave me.''

She said she was lifted by the love and support shown to her by New Zealanders.

"Thank you New Zealand for your continued support and confidence in what we do.''

Of the 2500 tickets to tonight's ceremony, about 500 were reserved for sponsors and 2000 were to be given away in draws and competitions.

Also in attendance was fellow gold medallists Mahe Drysdale, Eric Murray, Hamish Bond, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie, and other medallists and members of the 2012 Olympic team.

The ceremony was simulcast on a big screen at Frank Kitts Park in Wellington followed by a second major fireworks display on Wellington Harbour.

- APNZ

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