Adams to get gold, Ostapchuk fails test

Ostapchuk fails test

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 07:03 14/08/2012
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FAIRFAX
FAILED TEST: Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk celebrates after her throw of 21.36m won her the shot put competition at the London Olympics, before a failed drug test saw her stripped of the title and gold medal.
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LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
SILVER TURNS TO GOLD: Valerie Adams will now be a double Olympic shot put champion after Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk failed a drug test and had her gold medal stripped.
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Alone in her car in Switzerland, Valerie Adams never dreamed this would be where she discovered she was a double Olympic shot put champion.

Instead of climbing the podium before a packed house of 80,000 and her family at the Olympic Stadium, gold medal around her neck and national anthem playing, a telephone call from New Zealand chef de mission Dave Currie today informed Adams that her Belarusian rival, Nadezya Ostapchuk, had tested positive to a banned steroid.

Silver had turned into gold.

Cue all manner of emotions; shock, joy, disbelief, anger, and no-one to share the moment with. As she arrived at the home of her coach Jean-Pierre Egger, it all spilled out.

''When I got here [to Egger's house] I burst into tears as his wife opened the door. She looked worried and asked why I was crying so much. I belted out 'we won, we won the gold medal' and I just fell into JP's arms and just shared a moment. We shared a moment of distress and disappointment on the sixth of August but today we shared a moment of happiness. It's overwhelming,'' Adams said.

But if Adams felt anger towards Ostapchuk for robbing her of glory atop the podium, she bit her lip.

''It's a pity it came out a week later but she's caught now. It was her moment but that's the only moment she'll be able to live now because it's all taken away from her. I don't want to waste any energy thinking about how I feel about her.

''I'm overwhelmed that I've won the gold medal and very humbled by all the people who have stood by me. The support of the public has been absolutely fantastic.''

It boosted New Zealand's gold medal tally to six, amid a total of 13 medals which equalled their best haul from Seoul in 1988.

The International Olympic Committee confirmed in a statement that Ostapchuk had tested positive to metenolone, and demanded the Belarus Olympic Committee hand back her gold medal.

She was the 12th competitor to test positive for a banned substance at these Games but the first to be stripped of a medal. Samples provided the day before the shot put competition, and immediately after her winning performance, both tested positive.

In what was considered a two-horse race last Monday, Ostapchuk threw 21.36m to Adams' 20.70m.

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Eggers made a telling ''no comment'' after the event which suggested there were suspicions around Ostapchuk whose distances increased markedly in the lead-up to London. But Adams had tried to believe the suspicions weren't true.

''Two months before the Olympics she was throwing massive throws in Belarus. But I never wanted to assume and I never have. Other people have, and commented about her looks and how she threw. At the end of the day it happened and I'm just grateful that the system put in place to make the sport clean is working.

''I just wish that my family that were here in London were able to see me and my medal on top of the podium and hear the national anthem and enjoy the moment.''

With Ostapchuk's disqualification, Russia's Evgeniia Kolodko was upgraded to silver and China's Lijiao Gong to the bronze.

Adams also revealed today she felt sympathy for Athletics New Zealand official Raylene Bates who was named by Currie as the person who botched the official entry form, which almost saw Adams excluded from the competition.

Bates didn't tick certain boxes on the athletes' starting confirmation forms, and only some last-minute negotiations between the NZOC and the IOC allowed Adams to line up. She admitted afterwards it had badly affected her preparation.

''What happened has happened. As I always said it was very unfortunate that happened to me, a mistake was made and I think things have been put in place for it not to happen again. Raylene and I have spoken since then and she's apologised and I feel for her. It wasn't my intention to publicly name her, someone else did that.''

Adams hoped she could receive her gold medal in some kind of public ceremony and hear the anthem played in New Zealand, but that was for the NZOC and her manager, Nick Cowan, to arrange.

She didn't have long to celebrate as she was scheduled to train 30 minutes after speaking to the media, in preparation for another competition in Stockholm on Thursday. Adams contacted her family immediately to share the news and planned to catch up with some of them for a celebratory dinner.

''I'm letting this all sink in because it's so surreal. Already I've got 50 text messages from people congratulating me and are so happy with the result.

''Right now it's a lot for me to take in. I missed the moment in the stadium to have my medal presented to me. But the facts have come out and I'm an Olympic champion back to back. I'm very grateful that I achieved my goal even though it's come a week later, it's better than never coming. I'm very delighted and overwhelmed.'' 

- Fairfax Media

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