Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Olympics: Valerie Adams already eyeing Rio

Valerie Adams will defend her world title. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Valerie Adams will defend her world title. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Uplifted by a trip to Disneyland and a meal of snails in Paris, Valerie Adams has already completed her first post-Olympic training session and says she will defend her world championship title in Moscow next year.

"I will be back to continue to be the best I can be," she said from Paris where she travelled with family to help fill the void of missing the shot put gold.

"People asked afterwards, 'Is Val going to retire?' No way. I've been to three Olympics and have two medals, it's not too shabby. I want to defend my world championship title and then go on to Rio for the next Olympics."

Adams will continue with Swiss coach Jean-Pierre Egger: "Jean-Pierre is an amazing guy. He felt my pain in that moment at the stadium. We'd gone so far; worked so hard.

"As a coach and a person he is very attentive; he treats you as a human being rather than just an athlete. We've already agreed I need to break my New Zealand record [21.24m] by the end of the season."

Adams went to Paris, with sister Paddy (Patricia) and niece Sharne. "I'm feeling a lot better. As you can imagine it's been a stressful time. I've enjoyed taking time out from the Olympic environment.

It's really good to have family with me, especially seeing it's their first time here. I've haven't seen them since March and I'm not going home for a couple of months with more Diamond League meets coming up [starting next weekend in Stockholm]."

That explains why Adams has combined leisure with her first post-Olympic training. "I needed to get my body moving again but we've also spent a day at Disneyland and been to Parc Asterix, [a Parisian theme park modelled on the Gaul comic book]. I took my family to all the great sights like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Sacre Coeur and the Champs Elysees. I love the architecture too.

"We went to a bistro where I got Paddy and Sharne to try snails. They ended up munching about 10 each. Now I reckon Sharne will be hunting around in the gardens for them at home looking for a feed," Adams laughs.

The drama over missing gold has shown a different Adams. Until recently, she seemed invincible but despite her focus as an athlete, there is now a vulnerability to her which proves she is actually human.

The public seem to have recognised that and know a big heart when they see it. It is reflected in feedback received by the Herald on Sunday.

'Big Val' remains the people's champion. Ken wrote: "You have done great over many years. Following a gold in one Olympics with a silver in the next is a remarkable achievement," while Lesieli noted, "even though Valerie Adams won a silver medal, she will always be our gold, clear as that. Love you Valerie." Dawn reflected: "Great girl, role model for many, her dedication is admired by all."

"I want to say how grateful I am to the New Zealand public for their support," Adams says. "My emotional reaction is all part of sport I guess, it hurts knowing what I was capable of doing. It is humbling to know people haven't written me off.

- Herald on Sunday

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