WELLINGTON, New Zealand, August 14 – New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams said she was delighted to win Olympic gold after her rival was disqualified but felt cheated by not receiving the medal in front of the London crowds.
Adams, the 2008 Olympic and three-time world champion, had resigned herself to the relative disappointment of silver before Olympic officials announced her Belarussian arch-rival Nadezhda Ostapchuk had been disqualified for doping.
Adams, 27, said she was speechless when New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) chef de mission Dave Currie told her that Ostapchuk had been stripped of the gold and she was now the Olympic shot put champion.
“I asked Dave if the news was for real, and then just burst into tears,” she said in a statement on the NZOC website. “I was overwhelmed that I’d won gold.”
Adams said she was pleased that anti-doping systems at the London Games had worked, but felt Ostapchuk had denied her a moment that few athletes ever get to experience.
“She got the glory of the 80,000 people in the stadium when she received the gold medal when in actual fact she shouldn’t have been the one to receive it,” Adams told commercial radio.
Details of when Adams will receive her gold have not been finalised, but the shot putter said she wanted the ceremony to include the New Zealand anthem playing and the national flag flying high.
“I think that’s important because I’m a very, very proud New Zealander and that was a moment that she robbed me of,” said the athlete, who is still in Europe training.
“I say good riddance,” Adams told TVNZ, adding: “I don’t want to waste any more of my energy or breath on her.”
The gold medal caps an emotional roller-coaster for Adams, whose preparations were thrown into disarray when NZOC officials accidentally left her off the start list of competitors in her event.
Unbeaten for almost two years going into the Games, she had a best throw of 20.70m in London, while Ostapchuk, who tested positive for the banned anabolic agent metenolone, threw 21.36m.
New Zealand anti-doping chief Jane Kernohan said metenolone tended to “masculinise” women, increasing their bulk and body hair while shrinking their breasts and womb.
“I think that everyone that looked at Ostapchuk probably had a few concerns about her masculinisation,” she told Radio New Zealand.