Disgraced drug cheat Nadzeya Ostapchuk has returned her tainted Olympic gold medal and it will be presented to London 2012 champion Valerie Adams in a public ceremony at The Cloud in downtown Auckland next Wednesday night.
Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae will be the man to put the medal around Adams' neck in what is the first-ever Olympic gold ceremony on New Zealand soil.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee confirmed the ceremony has been added to a pre-existing function already scheduled at The Cloud, worked in conjunction with sponsor ANZ and Adams' management.
The night event will also feature the biggest fireworks displays New Zealand has ever seen with simultaneous displays in Auckland and Wellington.
"It's exactly what I wanted," Adams said this morning.
"A public celebration on the night I arrive back home is wonderful. I'm looking forward to celebrating the gold medal with the people of New Zealand, as well as my family and members of the New Zealand Olympic team."
Adams will be joined at the event by fellow gold medallists Mahe Drysdale, Eric Murray, Hamish Bond, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie and other medallists and members of the 2012 Olympic team.
The NZOC has elected to giveaway more than 2000 public tickets through radio competitions.
We've been working with Valerie to create a memorable event and are delighted to invite the people of New Zealand to share it," said NZOC secretary general Kereyn Smith.
"It will be a wonderful occasion that honours her achievements on the world's stage, as well the success of our proud London Olympic team.
"This is the very first time an Olympic gold medal will be presented in New Zealand and is an incredible opportunity for Kiwis to be proud and get involved."
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said he was "over the moon" that Adams would receive her medal in Auckland, and he would be heading to The Cloud to watch.
"This will be a special moment both for Valerie and for Auckland. She is a daughter of the southside who has proved she has what it takes, not once but twice.
"Clearly Valerie would have preferred to receive her gold at the Olympics. It’s now up to Auckland to ensure we more than make up for Valerie not being able to enjoy that moment in London.
"I expect the ceremony will be the biggest thing to happen at Queens Wharf since the closing night of the Rugby World Cup. I encourage all Aucklanders to join in the celebration."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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