Press Release 1st March 2022
Dame Valerie Adams has announced her retirement from Athletics. The four-time World champion, four-time World Indoor champion, two-time Olympic, three-time Commonwealth Games champion announced that she would be “hanging up her size 14 throwing shoes” at a press conference in Auckland, New Zealand this morning, Tuesday March 1st.
Dame Valerie Adams, the most decorated female shot putter in history, and arguably the greatest athlete that Oceania has produced. In Tokyo, she became the first female thrower to win a medal at four consecutive games.
Dame Valerie Adams first represented New Zealand on the World Athletics stage in 1999, at the World Youth Championships, aged only 15 years. She would become the third woman to win the World Youth, World Junior and World Senior Championships after taking gold in Debrecen (Youth – 2001), Kingston (Junior – 2002) and Osaka (Senior – 2007). She was the first woman to win four consecutive individual titles at the IAAF World Championships. While still a teenager, Adams was a finalist at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics and the 2004 Summer Olympics.
She has a personal best throw of 21.24 metres outdoors and 20.54 m indoors. These marks are Oceanian, Commonwealth and New Zealand national records. She also holds the Oceanian junior record (18.93 m) and the Oceanian youth record (17.54 m) and the World Championships record, World Indoor Championships record, and Commonwealth Games record.
Dame Valerie was emotional when announcing her retirement today but knew it was the right time.
“After winning my bronze medal in Tokyo, I contemplated whether to embark on another campaign. I took some time to really process this thought and to see if it was something I actually wanted to do again. My heart, mind and body simply answered the question for me, so it’s time to call it a day.”
“Representing Aotearoa for the last 22 years has given me so much joy. As my life’s work, I’m humbled to show that little old New Zealand has what it takes to be the best in the world”
To highlight how great Dame Valerie has been, since 2000, she holds 29 of the 50 best throws in the Women’s Shot Put and has thrown the shot put over 20m 75 times in outdoor competitions and nine times in indoor competitions.
Dame Valerie Adams has won the Diamond League Title on six occasions and won 33 individual meetings. She holds the Diamond League Record at 21.03m from the Golden Gala in Rome in 2012. From 2010 to 2015, Adams had a 56-competition winning streak.
In 2017, Adams was appointed as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her contribution to sport and athletics.
Over the later part of her career, she has been a representative on the World Athletics Athletes Commission since 2015 and has been instrumental in setting up and being the inaugural chair of both Athletics New Zealand and Oceania Athletics’ Athletes Commission.
Oceania Athletics said the following on Dame Valerie’s retirement.
“Dame Valerie Adams is a legend in our sport, and although she is retiring from competitive athletics, her legacy to our sport is not finished, she has so much more to offer. Dame Valerie has been an incredible role model to so many young athletes in and around New Zealand and the broader Pacific Region and we know she will continue to share her experiences far and wide. Dame Valerie may have thrown a silver ball a long way, but she will ultimately be remembered for the kindest and generosity she has shared with so many. Whilst we will miss her on the field, we look forward to seeing the powerhouse she can become off the field. The Oceania Athletics Family wishes Dame Valerie every happiness in what we know will be a life full of love, joy and happiness.”
• Olympic Champion 2008, 2012
• World Champion 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007
• World Indoor Champion 2014, 2012, 2010, 2008
• World U20 Champion 2002
• World U18 Champion 2001
• Commonwealth Champion 2014, 2010, 2006
• Olympic Silver Medal 2016
• Olympic Bronze Medal 2021
• New Zealand Champion 15 times
• Oceania Senior, U20, U18 Shot Record Holder
• Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year: 2015 nominee
• IAAF World Athlete of the Year: 2014
• Track & Field News Athlete of the Year: 2012, 2013
• New Zealand Order of Merit: 2017
• New Zealand’s Sportswoman of the Year: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
• Halberg Awards – Supreme Award: 2007, 2008, 2009
• Lonsdale Cup of the New Zealand Olympic Committee: 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014