Wellington to get fireworks for Valerie Adams

ANNA FERRICK
Last updated 17:58 12/09/2012
Valerie Adams
MIKE SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

GOLDEN GIRL: Valerie Adams (centre), with former shot put champion and coaching assistant Werner Gunthor (left) and coach Jean-Pierre Egger during a function at the Swiss Olympic house to honour her as an Olympic champion.

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Wellingtonians won’t be missing out on the celebrations when Valerie Adams receives her rightful gold medal in Auckland next week, with a massive fireworks display planned to take place in the harbour.

The medal ceremony, which will be held at The Cloud on Auckland's waterfront next Wednesday, will also be broadcast on big screens at Frank Kitts Park.

The fireworks in both Auckland and Wellington are set to be two of the largest displays ever seen in New Zealand.

Ashley Abbott, Communications Manager for the New Zealand Olympic Committee says the decision to celebrate the occasion in both cities is in keeping with the spirit of the Olympics.

"The games are all about sharing pride in your country and sharing experiences. Valerie's gold medal ceremony is particularly special," she said.

"By having events in both cities we can involve many more people in the celebrations."

Ms Abbott says they will be working closely with partners ANZ to make sure people enjoy the ceremony in the capital. 

David Hisco, Chief Executive of ANZ New Zealand, says support for Adams from the people of Wellington was phenomenal.

"Val had huge support from the people of Wellington as she prepared for the games, and went on to win the gold medal. We want Wellingtonians to share in this proud moment and celebrate the success of one of our best loved and most inspirational sportspeople."

Sue McGregor, head of sponsorship for ANZ, said while they have worked with the council in planning the events the cost will be covered by ANZ.

The fireworks display was scheduled to start at 7.25pm, the same time as in Auckland, and continue for seven minutes. 

Adams will be returning from Switzerland the day of the celebrations and says it is exactly the homecoming she has been hoping for. 

"A public celebration on the night I arrive back home is wonderful," she said.

"I’m looking forward to celebrating the gold medal with the people of New Zealand."

The medal, returned from disgraced Belarusian Nadeya Ostapchuk, will be presented by Governor General of New Zealand and New Zealand Olympic Committee patron Sir Jerry Mateparae. 

Fellow gold medalists Mahe Drysdale, Eric Murray, Hamish Bond, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie will be there to celebrate alongside Adams and her team.

New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General Kereyn Smith said the event was a perfect oppurtunity for Kiwis to be proud and get involved.

"This is the very first time an Olympic gold medal will be presented in New Zealand. 

"We’ve been working with Valerie to create a memorable event and are delighted to invite the people of New Zealand to share it."

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- The Dominion Post

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