Adams' candour lights up sport awards

Olympic champion's honesty captivates room

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:00 29/11/2012
Valerie Adams
MARTIN DE RUYTER/Fairfax NZ
OPENING UP: Valerie Adams speaks at the 2012 Nelson Sports Awards.

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It was dubbed the region's biggest sports party, and there was no doubt about who was the life of the party at the Nelson Sports Awards last night.

Double Olympic champion Valerie Adams dominates a room as she has dominated her rivals since winning the first of three consecutive world championship titles in 2007.

It's not just her 1.93-metre frame or golden smile that make her stand out and hold attention. It is the honesty with which she recounts the many highs and lows of her sporting career and personal life.

In an interview with MC Nick Tansley, in front of more than 400 people at Annesbrook Church, Adams shared many insights into her life and career, as featured in her new autobiography, Valerie.

She talked about growing up in South Auckland and nursing her dying mother, who remains her inspiration, the joy of winning Olympic gold in Beijing and then having her dreams of a repeat dashed by "it" at this year's London Olympics.

"It" was how Adams referred to disgraced Belarusian rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who was stripped of her gold medal after the London Games for drug use. But it's fine now, according to Adams, because she knows she will always be "prettier than It".

The awards were a chance to celebrate the achievements of the region's sporting elite, but also a chance to get to know local heroes.

New Zealand's oldest living Olympian and Nelson sporting legend, swimmer Ngaire Galloway, was well received at the Olympian function prior to the awards dinner, where Para Para cyclist Jack Bauer was given his Olympic pin.

Soon after meeting New Zealand's 56th Olympian, Adams tweeted a photo with Galloway and other Nelson Olympians, calling them "total legends".

The awards ended on an appropriate high as Nathan Fa'avae and Trevor Voyce put on a bit of a comedy double act. The members of adventure racing's Team Seagate, named sports team of the year and supreme award winners, parodied Adams' interview style in their acceptance speech.

Fa'avae then asked Adams a question that had been bugging him. "You can throw like nothing else. But what I want to know is, can you actually catch?"

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- The Nelson Mail

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