Valerie Adams finally gets her gold
Better late than never.
Valerie Adams has taken ownership of her second Olympic gold medal - six weeks after the Olympic final in East London.
On an emotional and patriotic night at The Cloud in downtown Auckland, Adams wept and glanced to the heavens as the New Zealand flag was hoisted to the national anthem.
With 2500 lucky ticket holders - consisting mainly of competition winners, sponsors, elite athletes and high-ranking Kiwi sports administrators - inside the venue to witness the crowning first-hand, Adams stood on a single-level podium and bowed before Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.
To a standing ovation, Sir Jerry hung the medal which, on August 7, was put around the neck of shamed Belarusian drug cheat Nadzeya Ostapchuk.
On a night dripping with corporate promotion, where the sponsors' names cropped up more times than that of Adams, nothing could ever replace the moment Adams said Ostapchuk “robbed” from her in the Olympic Stadium.
But on zero sleep, almost 24-hours after landing from a long-haul flight, Adams got the next best thing - she got her gold “as soon as possible”.
“I'm excited and overwhelmed, I tried to hold it together up there and I think I did a pretty good job. It was emotional to say the least,” Adams said.
“It's been such an honour to share this moment with my family, my friends and New Zealand.”
Adams' first port of call on stage was to acknowledge absent Swiss coach Jean-Pierre Egger with a fitting “merci”. She lobbed a mini bouquet of flowers deep into the front rows of the audience occupied by politicians, sports bosses and dignitaries - including members of the Tongan royal family.
Sir Jerry congratulated Adams “on behalf of all New Zealanders”.
Adams shared the stage with most medal-winning members of New Zealand's 2012 Olympic team, including fellow champions Mahe Drysdale, Hamish Bond, Eric Murray and Lisa Carrington.
But the night was all about the woman who is quickly shaping up to be New Zealand's greatest Olympian, already confirmed for the 2016 Rio Games and with an excellent chance of becoming the first Kiwi to win three consecutive gold medals.
Brought to a climax with a spectacular firework display, last night's presentation brings finality to New Zealand's 13-strong 2012 Olympic medal count of six gold, two silver and five bronze.
“It's been a very humbling evening and it's been one hell of a year," Adams said. “My party starts now.” Fairfax NZ