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Sad but at peace, Val Adams misses third gold

Tuesday 16 August 2016 | Published in Regional

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OLYMPICS – After winning silver in Rio, Val Adams can still be considered the best in the world – she’s just not the Olympic champion any more.

Adams said she was happy with her performance: “It’s been one heck of a struggle, this time last year I was at home getting my knee operated on and recovering from all the other crap I’d been through and Rio seemed so far away, and here I am now with a medal around my neck competing at my fourth Olympics, I cannot be too disappointed about that.”

She topped the field in the qualifying round which included her two best throws in two years.

But a remarkable, clutch last-ditch toss by American Michelle Carter denied the Kiwi sporting icon an historic hat-trick of Olympic gold medals with the 31-year-old having to settle for New Zealand’s sixth silver of these Games.

“I’m at peace with it, obviously the goal was to win, we were so close and yet so far,” she said a day later.

“I’m a little bit disappointed, but one thing I do know is that I left my heart out there trying.

“The Olympics are funny but it is the pinnacle of our sport, this is what we live and train for – it’s like the All Blacks preparing for the World Cup and wanting to win it is the ultimate goal.

“Being an Olympic champion is incredible and something you can only do every four years which makes it a lot more difficult to do.”

“I’m very very grateful for all the support I’ve had. It’s been an amazing journey. Rio has been absolutely epic. I did leave my heart out there and I wanted to do everybody proud. I love you guys. Thank you for your continued support.”

In a riveting competition on the opening day of track and field, the 30-year-old Carter stunned the watching world with a special final effort that snatched away the gold that Adams looked to have firmly clenched in her large hands.

The back-to-back Olympic champion had led the competition from the outset and looked set to carve her name into sporting history with a third straight gold after a season’s best throw of 20.42m achieved in the second round. Her rivals all looked well short of the power required to surpass that early marker.

But Carter saved her best for last, topping a consistent series of five straight 19-metre throws with a brilliant final effort that sailed out to 20.63m − an American national record, and the best she has ever thrown in her career. It also ended a 56-year gap between medals in the event for the US.

The giant Kiwi had one final throw to regain the lead, and though she nailed a second 20m-plus effort, it was not quite enough at just 20.39m.

So has the 31-year-old got another four year Olympic cycle in her?

She has said that competing in the next Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in 2018 is an option.

Adams recently married and no doubt having children may play a part in her future.

- PNC sources