Hunger still there for shot put queen Val Adams
MARK GEENTY IN GLASGOW
It was all about the numbers and the anthem for Valerie Adams, wrapped in a New Zealand flag in the Glasgow chill.
Her 54th successive competition victory and New Zealand's 600th Commonwealth Games medal were the tangible rewards from another Adams shot put cakewalk, when she admitted to being flat but still won by 1.31m over her ''bestie'', Cleo Borel from Trinidad and Tobago.
Then she beamed her way through God Defend New Zealand, with backup vocals from a gaggle of Kiwis who remained to sing and wave flags as the clock ticked towards 10.30pm at Hampden Park.
The question now is, what maintains the hunger for someone so dominant in their field? How far can her winning streak go?
Adams, 30 in October, returns to her Swiss base tonight (NZT) with coach Jean-Pierre Egger - whose birthday fell on his charge's golden day - with still four competitions remaining in her year.
Assuming her streak continues at three Diamond League meets and the World Cup in Marrakesh, she'll be 58 not out by year's end.
It's inching towards Edwin Moses territory, the great hurdler who won 107 successive finals, or decathlete Daley Thompson whose winning run stretched nine years. Adams was last beaten in August, 2010.
''Once we got to 50 [in New York in June] that was a massive goal and a massive achievement. Now it's about enjoying every competition,'' Adams said.
''I know that I am the hunted and they will all try to hunt me down. I still enjoy what I do and love my country and I have an amazing coach, so we will continue.''
Motivation was easy for Adams this time, when she was handed the flag at the opening ceremony and was said by team-mates to be ultra relaxed and willing to share her time and offer advice.
She mentored promising New Zealand discus thrower Siositina Hakeai, a fellow Mangere girl, in the athletes' village.
''It's great to have that connection, we're the Tongans in the team and it's fantastic to room with her and help her out when she needs it.''
Adams insists the competitive spirit still burns, 12 years on from her first Commonwealth Games when she won silver at age 17 in Manchester.
''The day that goes is the time to hang up my boots. At the moment physically it's kinda tough, but I'm still able to work through them and do the training. I was so excited to be here and lead the team intro the opening ceremony. That was a big part of these Games for me.''
Adams wore a thermal for the first time in competition and used a white towel as a shawl over her jacket to stay warm between throws in the icy breeze.
Her best of 19.88m was way too good, but well off her Games record of 20.47m from Delhi, or her world best 2014 mark of 20.67m set at the world indoors in March. Still, no one was going to get near her.
Borel is so close with Adams she's going to stay with her in Switzerland next week. The pair are inseparable on tour, and Borel even plaited Adams' hair before yesterday's competition.
Borel, whose best was 18.57m to clearly win silver, said Adams' dominance will long continue. Even when she raised 50 in New York with a left shoulder injury, no one could get past her.
''I think so because there were times this year when other throwers had the ability to beat her and they were not able to step up to that mark. She does cast a large shadow on the event,'' Borel said.