ADAMS Valerie < Back  
Sport Athletics
CGA New Zealand   
Gender Women
Born 06 Oct 1984 in Rotorua, NZL
Height1.93 m
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Family Husband Gabriel Price, daughter Kimoana [2017], son Kepaleli [2019]
Other names Valerie Vili
Residence Auckland, NZL
Occupation Athlete
Languages English, French
Higher education Administration Studies - Manukau Institute of Technology: Auckland, NZL
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She took up athletics at age 14.
Why this sport? New Zealand javelin thrower Kirsten Hellier spotted her in a school competition and later became her coach.
Club / Team Pakuranga Athletic Club: Auckland, NZL
Name of coach Dale Stevenson [personal], AUS, from 2020
Training Regime She trains four days a week in Christchurch, New Zealand.
General Interest
Hero / Idol Her mother. (irpa-rugby.com, 01 May 2014)
Injuries Between 2013 and 2016 she needed surgery five times on her knee, ankle, left shoulder and right elbow. She missed the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, People's Republic of China, returning to competition at the Auckland Track Challenge in New Zealand in February 2016. (stuff.co.nz, 25 Feb 2016; bbc.co.uk, 04 Jul 2015, 05 Aug 2015; irpa-rugby.com, 01 May 2014)

In early 2007 she underwent a shoulder operation due to osteolysis [bone degeneration]. (NZ Herald, 27 Aug 2007)

She had her appendix removed shortly before the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens due to appendicitis. (iaaf.org, 30 Aug 2010)
Sporting philosophy / motto "I find that motivation and success go hand in hand. Motivation leads to success and success keeps me motivated and focused." (iaaf.org, 01 Feb 2007)
Awards and honours She was named a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit [DNZM] in the 2017 New Year's Honours list. (halosport.co.nz, 25 Oct 2019)

In 2014 she was named International Association of Athletics Federations [IAAF] Female Athlete of the Year. She was also the New Zealand flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. (smh.com.au, 22 Jul 2014; olympictalk.nbcsports.com, 21 Nov 2014)

She was awarded the Lonsdale Cup by the New Zealand Olympic Committee as its Athlete of the Year in 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014. (olympic.org.nz, 15 Apr 2018; voxy.co.nz, 20 Dec 2013)

She won the Supreme Award as New Zealand's overall Athlete of the Year at the Halberg Awards in 2007, 2008 and 2009. She was also named New Zealand's Sportswoman of the Year at the Halberg Awards for seven consecutive years from 2006 to 2012. (stuff.co.nz, 14 Feb 2012; halbergawards.co.nz, 15 Feb 2009)

In 2009 she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit [ONZM]. (speakers.co.nz, 01 Jun 2014)
Milestones At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing she became the first New Zealand shot putter of either gender to win an Olympic gold medal. Four years later her gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London made her the first female New Zealand athlete to defend an athletics Olympic title. She had originally won silver in London, but was upgraded to the gold medal position after Belarusian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk was disqualified due to an anti-doping rule violation. (SportsDeskOnline, 01 Jul 2020)

She became the first female athletics competitor to win four consecutive gold medals in an individual event at the world championships, when she was victorious in shot put at the 2013 edition of the tournament in Moscow, Russian Federation. She also won gold at the 2007, 2009 and 2011 editions of the tournament, which also made her the first shot putter of either gender to win four gold medals at the world championships. (SportsDeskOnline, 01 Jul 2020)

At the world championships in 2013 she also became the first New Zealand athletics competitor of either gender to have won a total of five medals at the world championships, having first won silver at the 2005 edition. She was also the first New Zealand athletics competitor to have won more than one, two and three world championship medals. (SportsDeskOnline, 01 Jul 2020)

She was the first shot putter of either gender to win four gold medals at the indoor world championships following triumphs at the 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 editions of the tournament, and was the first shot putter of either gender to win a combined career total of nine [and later 10] medals from the indoor and outdoor world championships. (SportsDeskOnline, 01 Jul 2020)
Famous relatives Her half-brother Steven Adams has played basketball for New Zealand at international level and in the United States of America for NBA team the Oklahoma City Thunder. Another two of her brothers have played professional basketball in New Zealand. She has coached her younger sister Lisa Adams, who has competed in Para athletics at international level and won a gold medal in the F37 shot put at the 2019 World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (tokyo2020.org, 26 Aug 2020; SportsDeskOnline, 24 Jun 2020; nzherald.co.nz, 07 Nov 2019; stuff.co.nz, 11 Aug 2011; nba.com, 02 Jul 2020)
Ambitions To compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (iaaf.org, 05 Feb 2019; stuff.co.nz, 10 Nov 2020)
Other information NEW COACH FOR TOKYO
In October 2020 she began training with Australian coach Dale Stevenson ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. She had previously worked with Scott Goodman since the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. "What a year 2020 has been with so much uncertainty. It has been tough on us all and has not been easy as an athlete - trying to train for ultimately nothing has been frustrating. So I need to step out of my comfort zone and shake things up a bit to enable me to be the best version of myself in Tokyo. I am very excited to have Dale Stevenson lead my programme and to have the opportunity to train in his squad. I want to thank Scott Goodman for his continued help and support in the last few years, especially through my pregnancies and comeback at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. I am grateful that he will still be on the journey with me in his role as [Athletics New Zealand] high performance director and, in particular, providing support when I am in Auckland [New Zealand]." (insidethegames.biz, 28 Oct 2020)

FAMILY
She gave birth to her second child in March 2019. She returned to competition for the first time in 20 months in January 2020 at the Potts Classic in Hastings, New Zealand, where she achieved qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. She says becoming a mother to a son and daughter has eased the pressure on her to perform. "I'm able to switch off and on so, as soon as I finish training, I put on my mum hat. It's brought a great balance to my life. I enjoy being a mum and I love my babies so much, and regardless of what happens out here, they don't care what I do or who I am. All they know is I provide food, happiness, some entertainment and lots of cuddles and kisses, and that's all that matters to them." Her mother, originally from Tonga, died of cancer when Adams was age 14 and her father, who was English, died in May 2007. She dedicated her first world championship gold medal, which she won several months later in Osaka, Japan, to her father. "My coach said to me before I went out for my last throw to do this one for dad, and I looked up to the sky and all I could think about was getting to the middle and smacking it." (scoop.co.nz, 26 Jan 2020; nzherald.co.nz, 25 Jan 2020; TV One New Zealand, 20 Aug 2007; IAAF, 30 Aug 2007)

BARBIE ROLE MODEL
In 2020 she was selected by the toy manufacturer Mattel as a Barbie Role Model, meaning that a one-off doll was made in her likeness and gifted to her. "I'm six feet and four inches [tall], I'm a big Pacific Island woman. Never in my mind would I have thought something like this would be possible. They got all the details right. It's a way that I can reach out to young girls here in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. If they can see something that looks like them, it makes them feel normal - to be able to see something in their own likeness is quite exciting. I have a daughter and I have a responsibility to be a positive role model for her." (nzherald.co.nz, 16 Jul 2020; stuff.co.nz, 16 Jul 2020)

ATHLETES' COMMISSION
In November 2019 she was elected as deputy chairperson of the World Athletics Athletes' Commission. (nzherald.co.nz, 22 Nov 2019)