Valerie Adams needs surgery to ensure she can compete at the 2016 Rio Games and keep alive her bid for an historic third Olympic gold medal.
The double Olympic shot put champion has revealed she will go under the knife in Auckland on Friday in a bid to resolve previously concealed long-term issues with her right knee and left ankle.
In what has been one of the best kept secrets in New Zealand sport all year, Adams says the injury problem almost caused her to abandon the season in June - two months before she claimed a record fourth world title in Moscow and became the most successful shot-putter in history.
Estimating she has only operated at around 90% this year, it's a sobering revelation for Adams' opponents - who have been unable to beat the reigning Olympic, world, world indoor, Commonwealth and Diamond League champion in 42 events over three years.
Requiring bone to be trimmed from her ankle, suspected to be the result of a fracture playing basketball 11 years ago, and a "clean up" inside the knee, Adams says she wants to be able to train without compromise.
After the surgery, 28-year-old Adams will undergo a strict rest and recovery regime including a rehabilitation plan designed to prime her for her attempt to become the first New Zealander to win gold over three consecutive Olympic Games.
"If I don't do this, I don't think I'll make it to Rio. It's that cut-throat," Adams told the Sunday News. .
"The ankle has been niggling for a few years. It jams when I throw, and the knee has been ongoing as well. They're both a case of wear and tear, gradual over time, and they need maintenance.
"This season has been too busy to have surgery before now and I've been able to strap myself up and alter my training to get through it. Luckily, I've got a very high pain threshold and we've been able to manage the situation.
"In June I could have pulled the pin on the whole season, it was that bad. But now is the time to get the work done and not carry on relying on cortisone shots.
"I have run through everything with the surgeon and it all seems straightforward.
But the key is not the surgery, it's making sure the rehab is military. That's the crucial thing that will determine how well I come back.
Due to the importance of the rehabilitation process, Adams says she is not yet committing to any 2014 events, except July's Commonwealth Games defence.
"I'm not going to rush anything, but you will definitely see me in Glasgow next year," she said.
"I don't like doing things half-arsed, it's not what I do.
"I'm not ready to retire. I'm still winning, I still love what I do and I still believe there is more distance in me than 21.24m.
"I really am excited for the next three years."
- Sunday News
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