Valerie Adams arrives home

Last updated 11:01 19/09/2012
Fairfax NZ

Valerie Adams arrives at Auckland Airport ahead of the presentation for her Olympic Gold Medal tonight.

Valerie Adams
Lawrence Smith/ FAIRFAX NZ Zoom
Valerie Adams talks to the media at Auckland Airport.

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Valerie Adams is back on New Zealand soil and ready to receive Olympic gold.

Touching down at 6am, Adams was mobbed by family and well-wishers as she appeared through the arrival gate at Auckland International Airport, arms aloft.

Tonight at The Cloud, Adams will be presented with London 2012 gold after Belaursian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk was stripped of the medal for twice testing positive for steroids.

"I'm so happy to be home, I've been waiting for this for so long, not just for the medal but to see my family as well," Adams said.

"I'm really looking forward to tonight.

"It was a long flight, but a good one. I felt a bit out of whack earlier but it's one of those days where adrenaline is stronger than the need for sleep."

Acknowledging what is one of the rarest experiences in sport, Adams has been able to spend the last week safe in the knowledge of what awaits around the corner.

"It's been weird, but the wait will be worth it I'm sure," she said.

"I'm just looking forward to getting that medal around my neck."

Adams had another reason to smile thanks to a bit of special mid-air treatment.

Air New Zealand surprised the athlete with some special bedding inlcuding a "Welcome Home Valerie" pillow and a gold medal duvet.

It also provided a napkin which stated "enjoy your medal" rather than "enjoy your meal".

Spokeswoman Brigitte Ransom said they wanted to make her homecoming "a little more special".

The medal function begins at 6.50pm where Adams will be joined by New Zealand's other 2012 Olympic medallists including champions Mahe Drysdale, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.

Large crowds are expected at The Cloud, as well as in Wellington where the ceremony will be shown on a big screen.

While it is open to the public, the New Zealand Olympic Committee has elected to give away the 2000 tickets through radio competitions.

Along with the official medal presentation by Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae, there will be speeches from Adams and the New Zealand officials, a musical performance and seven minutes of fireworks simultaneously in Auckland and Wellington - described as the biggest display New Zealand has ever seen.  

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- Auckland Now


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