New medal ceremony being planned

By Kate Shuttleworth

Valerie Adams during the shot put at the London Olympics. She has since been awarded the gold medal. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Valerie Adams during the shot put at the London Olympics. She has since been awarded the gold medal. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Minister of Sport and Recreation Murray McCully is working with Valerie Adams' management to plan a ceremony for her gold medal win when she returns to New Zealand in October.

Adams and many of her Kiwi fans have been calling for a gold medal ceremony to be held to replace the one she was "robbed" of by Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk in London.

Adams was promoted to a gold yesterday when it was revealed Ostapchuk had tested positive for the banned anabolic agent metenolone before and after competing.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Murray McCully said he had talked to Adams and her management on the phone last night and said he was delighted at her win and pleased to see the drug testing system was robust and working.

"I am working with her management and we will work out something that is going to be suitable in the circumstances - I think a lot of New Zealanders want to see her given due ceremony," he said.

"We will work towards something that is suitable in the way of a presentation," he said.

"I would have loved to see her standing on the podium and hear the New Zealand national anthem, but it didn't work out - it's been a real roller coaster ride for her but she's a great New Zealander and a great athlete," he said.

Adams agreed and said she would like to have her win honoured in New Zealand.

"I really want to hear the national anthem. I want to receive my medal with the national anthem, with our flag flying high. I think that's important because I'm a very proud New Zealander and that was a moment that she [Ostapchuk] robbed me of," said Adams on Radio Live.

"And she got the glory of the 80,000 people in the stadium when she received the gold medal when in actual fact she shouldn't have been the one to receive it."

McCully said the process could be slow but he would know more over the next few days.

"The International Olympic committee doesn't keep a cupboard of gold medals to hand out on these occasions; there is likely to be some delay - but we're working to achieve something," he said.

Adams will compete in seven more competitions before she returns to New Zealand in October.

"Valerie Adams is 27 years of age - she is capable of being a gold medallist at a couple more Olympics for New Zealand," said Mr McCully.

Swimmer Hayley Palmer tweeted her support for the medal ceremony to be held at the Kiwi team's homecoming event in Christchurch.

"I think the welcome home event would be an appropriate place in the absence of doing it here (in London)."

Runner Nick Willis said there should be a gold medal ceremony at Eden Park.

"Val was robbed the [opportunity] to stand on top of the podium and hear the national anthem. Cheats must be caught out of comp before games," (sic) he wrote on Twitter.

Willis said the announcement was "vindication" for Adams, and suggested she "sue the cheat for all prize money won ahead of her over the years".

However it is unlikely Adams will receive the medal at the team's homecoming event in Christchurch on August 24.

"The Belarusian has gone back to the wilds of Belarus so it could take some time to get it back," New Zealand chef de mission Dave Currie told Firstline.

"Until that gold medal is retrieved, we can't plan on what we do. Certainly won't be at the games now."

Currie said he had no idea how the medal would be awarded to Adams, but said the New Zealand Olympic Committee want to make it significant.

Football Fern Annalise Longo told AP it was unfortunate Adams had not been able to receive the gold medal at the victory ceremony in London.

"We feel cheated in a way, not being able to play the anthem and having taken the moment off her," Longo said.

She said it was "pretty emotional" when the remaining New Zealand athletes were told of the news in the athletes' village.

"We're just so happy, she worked so hard and she totally deserved the gold medal."

Former Olympic discus thrower and Commonwealth gold medallist Beatrice Faumuina also said it was New Zealand's "time to stage a medal ceremony".

Rower Emma Twigge summed up the thoughts of many of the Kiwi contingent.

"Valerie Adams, rightly reinstated as Olympic Champion, cruelly robbed of her moment by a drug cheat," she wrote on Twitter.

Other current Olympians athletes heralded Adams a "legend", while 2004 and 2008 Olympic triathlete Sam Warriner asked whether Ostapchuk would apologise to Adams.

The New Zealand Olympic Team Facebook page is asking for suggestions for how the gold medal should be awarded to the shot put champion.

THE MEDAL TABLE:

- Herald online with APNZ

Your views

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 19 Sep 2014 05:16:06 Processing Time: 580ms