Valerie Adams takes World Champs gold
Champion shot putter Valerie Adams was holding a handwritten note from her coach, Jean-Pierre Egger, as she waved the New Zealand flag in celebration of her world championship victory in Daegu, South Korea, today.
In the note, which she was instructed to read on the morning of the final, Egger, who was in Switzerland and wasn't able to make the event, asked Adams to 'throw as long as possible until you reach the stars'.
She did. In her own words, she ''smashed the crap out of the shot and away it flew''.
The 26-year-old sensation hurled the sphere a whopping 21.24m, a world championship record-equalling throw, to win her third successive world shot put title in the early hours of this morning (NZT).
The winning margin of 1.19m over great rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus was the widest in the history of the event and her personal best and New Zealand record was the longest throw outdoors for 11 years.
She had only a 2cm lead at 20.04 metres when she stepped up for her fourth put, but destroyed the challengers with a 20.72m effort.
She went on to stamp her authority with the record effort on her final put, equalling the world championship record set by current world record holder Natalia Lisovskaya of the Soviet Union in 1987.
Her previous best, and national record, of 21.07m was smashed as she became just the fifth woman to win three world championship titles. Lisovskaya's world record stands at 22.63m.
Adams, also the Olympic and Commonwealth champion, is just the second three-time winner in the event, matching the record of German great Astrid Kumbernuss.
''I am mad, I am so happy. I have made so many sacrifices, been away from home for such a long time,'' Adams told reporters in Daegu.
''What gave me the kick for the last attempt? I knew that I had 21 metres in me and I had to get it out, I simply smashed it out.''
After the final throw, Adams picked up a picture of Egger, pointed to it and said ''he did it for me''.
''I couldn't have asked for a better result today and a championship record,'' she told The Radio Network this morning.
''Massive, massive thanks to my coach, my team ... and my family at home, I couldn't have done it without their support. I dedicate this win to my brother-in-law's mother who was taken away from us in May this year, so it was a massive emotional day for me.
''I'm very happy to have pulled it off for our small country.''
Adams, who had beaten Ostapchuk in four previous meetings this northern summer, had a mediocre first round throw of 19.37m to languish in fourth, and fouled with her second put, but took the lead in the third round and held it from there in spite of challengers.
Ostapchuk was second in 20.05m and American Jillian Camarena-Williams was third with 20.02m.
''After the fifth throw I basically knew I'd won so there was no pressure or anything, I just gave it my all. I smashed the crap out of the shot and away it flew,'' she said.
''The goal was to win but I knew I had 21m in me, so I couldn't finish the competition without trying to break that mark. I spoke to my coach Jean-Pierre after the meet and he said it was a really nice throw technically.''
Her manager, Nick Cowan, said Adams was much happier after a tough 2010, in which she had a marriage breakup and change of coach, and that had contributed to her performance in Daegu.
Valerie Adams (New Zealand) 21.24m 1, Nadzeya Ostapchuk (Belarus) 20.05 2, Jillian Camarena-Williams (United States) 20.02 3, Lijiao Gong (China) 19.97 4, Yevgeniya Kolodko (Russia) 19.78 5, Ling Li (China) 19.71 6, Anna Avdeeva (Russia) 19.54 7, Nadine Kleinert (Germany) 19.26 8, Michelle Carter (United States) 18.76 9, Anna Omarova (Russia) 18.67 10, Natallia Mikhnevich (Belarus) 18.47 11, Christina Schwanitz (Germany) 17.96 12, Cleopatra Borel-Brown (Trinidad) 17.62m 13.