Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Valerie Adams not ruling out a fifth Olympic campaign

Valerie Adams is considering taking a break from her athletics career to start a family, but she is not ruling out a tilt at a fifth Olympic campaign in Tokyo 2020.

The double Olympic champion and Rio silver medallist has shut down any talk of retirement after arriving back in the country following the completion of her most challenging seasons to date, today publicly committing through to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

She said another Olympic campaign could be on the cards as well, but at 31 she is now at a time in her career where it is a case of taking it season by season.

"The option is there to go through to Tokyo. It does seem so far away now and it's not something I'm focused on right now, but I'm not ruling it out at all. I would love to be there, I've just got to see what the next four years brings," Adams told the Weekend Herald.

Adams has hinted motherhood may be her next challenge, with the shotput queen keen to start a family with husband Gabriel Price sooner rather than later.

"I would love a family, it has always been a goal and I think motherhood would be fantastic," said Adams, adding she is getting to the stage of her life where she is getting "clucky".

"We just really need to go away now and have a break and think about things, we will know definitely what we're going to do by December."

After 14 seasons at the top, Adams is at the point where she has nothing left to prove in her sport. From that perspective, the challenge of returning to elite-level sport following childbirth may be a major motivating factor for her.

While there are high profile examples of top track and field athletes returning to the sport after taking time out to start a family, it is almost unheard of in New Zealand.

Adams said she would like to be able to pave the way for other female athletes.

"There is an opportunity to take a longer break and possibly have a family, but at the same time it is quite scary because you don't know how you're going to bounce back.

"It's one of those things that I could call upon and talk to other athletes that have done it and see how they have approached it. I'm not sure how my body will react, but one thing is for sure I am going to train right through."

Breaking barriers are nothing new for Adams. She is the only woman to win four consecutive shot put world championships, set a record 56 straight victories at international-ranked meets between August 2010 and July 2015, and became the first female thrower to be awarded the world governing body's athlete of the year title.

However, she came up short of another major goal in Rio, where she seeking to become the first Kiwi to win gold at three consecutive Olympics.

Adams bounced back from knee surgery last year - her fifth time under the knife in the space of three years - to produce her season's best throw of 20.42 at the Rio Games.

After leading right through the competition, the Kiwi star was upstaged in the final round by American Michelle Carter, who pulled out a winning throw of 20.63m. Adams said she left Rio with no regrets.

"Reflecting back it was a very successful campaign considering everything that has happened.

"I went in there fighting and it was the best throw I have done in two years, so I can't be mad at myself for how things turned out. What Michelle did I have actually done to a number of people as well, that's just sport."

- NZ Herald

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