Valerie Adams wants medal 'sterilised' first

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 14:12 13/09/2012
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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Valerie Adams has not been told whether the Olympic gold medal she will receive in Auckland next week is the same one originally presented to Belarusian drug cheat Nadzeya Ostapchuk at London 2012.

And if it is, New Zealand's rightful Olympic champion has a special request.

"I have no idea whether it's the same one, but I'd be quite keen to have it buffed and sterilised first," Adams told Fairfax Media from Switzerland.

After weeks of waiting for the medal, plans for the ceremony were finalised yesterday with an Auckland waterfront event next Wednesday night set to see Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae conduct the first-ever presentation of Olympic gold on New Zealand soil.

New Zealanders will be able to share in the moment when it airs live on both TV One and TV3 at 6.50pm.

The medal ceremony would also be simulcast on a big screen at Frank Kitts Park in Wellington with major fireworks display over Wellington Harbour.

Fireworks in both cities were expected to be two of the largest displays ever produced in New Zealand.

"All I ever asked for was to get hold of that medal as quickly as possible," Adams said.

"There was some talk about being presented with it at an All Blacks game, at an athletics event and it was actually quite fun reading about all the ideas the public were coming up with.

"They were all good ideas, but to be honest I just want it to be done quickly."

While admitting nothing can ever replace what should have been her moment in the Olympic Stadium, Adams said one positive is that the Auckland event will allow more New Zealanders to personally share the moment with her.

"I should have received this medal, watched our flag and heard our national anthem in London, in front of 80,000 people in the Olympic Stadium," she said.

"For years, me, my team and my family had hung out for that moment and it was taken away from us.

"But less than one percent of the people in that stadium would have been Kiwis. While there'll be over two thousand people in The Cloud, and maybe more watching outside, it's likely all of them will consider themselves New Zealanders. That's incredibly special to me.

"All I want to do now is come home. I'm super-excited to get back to New Zealand, get my medal and see my family. I miss them so badly."

Immediately after the ceremony Adams says she will take an extended holiday to begin preparing herself for another season on the world track and field circuit.

"My body and mind are pretty shot at the moment. But I'm looking forward to being able to relax and enjoy myself for two-and-a-half months," she said.

Giving her a flavour of what to expect upon arrival home, Adams' coach, Jean-Pierre Egger, recently threw the double Olympic champion a medal ceremony of his own.

"He'd had me a medal custom made complete with a number one and a fern and even a podium too. It was pretty damn good," Adams said.

"He also sang me the national anthem, in both English and Maori. He'd spent the last three weeks secretly learning a different language.

"There have been a lot of tears cried over the last few weeks and I expect there'll be a few more over the next few days. But at least those will be tears of joy."

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