Adams named as NZ flag bearer

By Kris Shannon in Glasgow

Valerie Adams has been spending some extra time at the gym in preparation for her role as New Zealand's flag bearer for the Commonwealth Games' opening ceremony.

Adams was this morning (NZT) awarded the honour at a team function inside the majestic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, following in the recent footsteps of the likes of Sarah Ulmer (2002), Hamish Carter (2006) and Irene van Dyk (2010).

The defending Commonwealth, Olympic and World Champion will now lead the New Zealand team into Celtic Park at tomorrow's opening ceremony - a role for which she has put in a little extra preparation.

"I'm just going to try and enjoy the moment as much as possible," she said. "But one thing's for sure - I worked out yesterday, I'm going to work out tomorrow morning at the gym and make sure I fly that flag nice and high.

"I think the most important thing is representing that silver fern with pride. Black is such an amazing colour. We look so smart and you can spot us from a mile away, so it will be great to see that sea of black coming in.

Adams, unbeaten in 53 competitions heading into the Games, revealed she learned the good news from chef de mission Rob Waddell through a phone call some two months ago, keeping the secret from everyone but her sister, partner and manager.

"Just a couple of really close people, who actually changed their flights and bought tickets for tomorrow night. So I'm actually quite excited."

That pride, her impeccable record and role as a leader within the New Zealand team made Adams an obvious choice as far as Waddell was concerned.

"Valerie is arguably New Zealand's greatest sportsperson and a true inspiration, especially to young people," he said. "Not only is she an outstanding athlete, she's also an outstanding New Zealander.

"While competing at the highest level, she works with young athletes and spends considerable time with children, encouraging them to succeed."

Along with her unbeaten streak, Adams also has two Olympic gold medals, two Commonwealth gold medals and four successive world titles to her name. She is the hottest of favourites in the shot put but, unflappable as always, Adams sees that pressure as merely a driving force to continue her dominance.

"It's been four years that I've been unbeaten now and the pressure's still there but the motivation's still there to do well," she said.

""I know that I am the hunted now and people try to hunt me down and beat me. But until that day comes, I'm going to enjoy it and I'm going to bust a nut to make sure I stay on top for as long as possible."

More from Glasgow:
Boyle confident ahead of opening night
I belong to Glasgow - an A-Z guide
Future of Commonwealth Games 'pretty rosy' - NZ boss
Squash changes to open game up

Previous Commonwealth Games flag bearers:
2010: Irene van Dyk (netball)
2006: Hamish Carter (triathlon)
2002: Sarah Ulmer (track cycling)
1998: Graeme Miller (cycling)
1994: Brian Fowler (cycling)
1990: Anthony Mosse (swimming)
1986: Stephanie Foster (rowing)
1982: Robin Tait (athletics)
1978: Neil Lyster (cycling)
1974: Warwick Nicholl (athletics)
1970: Les Mills (athletics)
1966: Don Oliver (weightlifting)
1962: Murray Halberg (athletics)
1958: Malcolm Hahn (athletics)
1954: Max Carr (athletics)
1950: Harold Nelson (athletics)
1938: James Leckie (athletics)
1934: Jack Lovelock (athletics)
1930: Stan Lay (athletics)

- NZ Herald

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