From 2005 through 2012, two athletes have dominated women’s shot put – Valerie Adams
(formerly known as Vili) of New Zealand and Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus. During this time Ostapchuk has won two world championships and finished second to Adams in four other championship competitions. At age 31, Ostapchuk seemed to reach the summit with a victory at the 2012 London Olympics. But she was stripped of her medal - plus her 2005 World Championship gold medal - due to doping violations.
Ostapchuk grew up playing basketball, but her athletic career path turn a sharp turn at age 13. Ostapchuk was offered a spot with a professional basketball club, but her mother vetoed the idea of her daughter leaving home. Ostapchuk soon turned to track and field. Within four years she’d won the World Junior Championship, taking the 1998 gold medal with a toss measuring 18.23 meters (59 feet, 9 inches).
At age 18, in 1999, Ostapchuk competed in her first World Championship. The championship medals began to flow soon after, as finished second in the 2001 and 2003 World Indoor Championship and the 2003 outdoor World Championship. She took fourth in the 2004 Olympics before breaking through with an apparent victory at the 2005 World Championships, which was later overturned when her doping violation was discovered.
Adams began dominating women’s shot put in 2007, with Ostapchuk finishing second to Adams in the 2007 outdoor and 2008 indoor World Championships, and third at the 2008 Olympics. Ostapchuk then made a few changes, tweaking her shot put mechanics, improving her training and, she says, spending less time at the discos. As a result she threw a personal best and national record 21.70/71-2 at the Belarus indoor championships in 2010, then she beat Adams to win the gold at the 2010 World Indoor Championships. Ostapchuk continued her dominance by winning six of the seven Diamond League meets to win the 2010 overall championship, and also captured the 2010 European outdoor championship.
Lingering pain in her left knee caused Ostapchuk to miss the 2011 indoor season. She then finished second to Adams in the Diamond League standings and the World Championships in 2011. Ostapchuk led at the 2012 World Indoor Championships with a throw measuring 20.42/66-11, but Adams rallied to win, leaving Ostapchuk with her seventh World Championship silver medal.
- Height: 5 feet 10 inches
- Weight: 209 pounds
- Birth date: Oct. 28, 1980
- Hometown: Stolin, Belarus
- Personal best: 21.70 meters (71 feet, 2 inches)