CHAMPION New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams has had her silver medal upgraded to gold after Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk failed a doping test.
She heard the news while alone in a car heading to see coach Jean-Pierre Egger in Switzerland, with New Zealand chef de mission Dave Currie giving her the word.
”When I got here [to Egger’s house] I burst into tears as his wife opened the door,” Adams told Fairfax NZ
“She looked worried and asked why I was crying so much. I belted out ‘we won, we won the gold medal’ and I just fell into JP’s arms and just shared a moment. We shared a moment of distress and disappointment on the sixth of August but today we shared a moment of happiness. It’s overwhelming.”
Despite the manner of her upgrade and being robbed of the chance to hear the national anthem inside the Olympic stadium, she didn’t show anger towards Ostapchuk.
”It’s a pity it came out a week later but she’s caught now. It was her moment but that’s the only moment she’ll be able to live now because it’s all taken away from her. I don’t want to waste any energy thinking about how I feel about her.
”I’m overwhelmed that I’ve won the gold medal and very humbled by all the people who have stood by me. The support of the public has been absolutely fantastic.”
It raised New Zealand’s gold medal talley to six, out of a total of 13.
The International Olympic Committee said Ostapchuck had tested positive metenolone, and demanded the Belarus Olympic Committee hand back her gold medal.
Twelve athletes had tested positive to a banned substance at the games, but she was the first medal winner.
Samples provided both before and after competition had tested positive.
She won gold after throwing 21.36m.
Adams could only reach 20.70m.
Ostapchuck had recently increased her distances substantially, but Adams had tried to believe the suspicions weren’t true.
Eggers made a telling “no comment” after the event.
”Two months before the Olympics she was throwing massive throws in Belarus. But I never wanted to assume and I never have. Other people have, and commented about her looks and how she threw. At the end of the day it happened and I’m just grateful that the system put in place to make the sport clean is working.
”I just wish that my family that were here in London were able to see me and my medal on top of the podium and hear the national anthem and enjoy the moment.”
Russia’s Evgeniia Kolodko was upgraded to silver and China’s Lijiao Gong to the bronze.
Adams also said she felt sympathy towards Athletics New Zealand official Raylene Bates, who was named by Currie as the person who botched the official entry forms, which almost saw Adams miss out on competing.
She missed ticking certain boxes on the athletes’ starting confirmation forms.
Adams admitted afterwards it had badly affected her preparation.
”What happened has happened. As I always said it was very unfortunate that happened to me, a mistake was made and I think things have been put in place for it not to happen again. Raylene and I have spoken since then and she’s apologised and I feel for her. It wasn’t my intention to publicly name her, someone else did that.”
Adams hoped she could receive her gold medal in some kind of public ceremony and hear the anthem played in New Zealand, but that was for the NZOC and her manager, Nick Cowan, to arrange.