Valerie Adams, formerly known as Valerie Vili, is simply the best women's shot-putter of her age. As of 2013 she's won almost every major global title since 2007, taking two Olympic gold medals and four consecutive outdoor World Championship titles, plus two World Indoor championships.
Adams’s shot put career began at age 14. She was participating in a school competition when she caught the eye of a throwing coach, former Commonwealth Games javelin silver medalist Kirsten Hellier. Four years later, Adams was the World Junior shot put champion.
Adams, who’d never finished better than third at a World Championship prior to 2007, won the gold at Osaka on her final throw. Nadzeya Ostapchuk led after five rounds with a toss measuring 20.48 meters (67 feet, 2 inches) but Adams’s final attempt traveled 20.54/67-4, making her the first New Zealander to win a World Championship gold medal since Beatrice Faumuina won the discus title in 1997.
In her first Olympic competition in 2004, Adams placed eighth, a very respectable finish for a 19-year-old who'd undergone an appendectomy just several weeks earlier. She won two World championships prior to the Beijing Olympics, one outdoors (2007) and one indoors (2008), with personal best throws on each occasion (20.54 outdoors, 20.19/66-3 indoors). She also won the 2006 Commonwealth Games championship.
Adams won the 2008 Olympic gold medal with a toss measuring 20.56/67-5. She continued to dominate women's shot put in 2009, posting the year's top six throws while winning the outdoor World Championship, plus the World Athletics Final in a 2009 world-leading 21.07/69-1. She suffered a rare loss and settled for a silver medal, behind Ostapchuk, at the 2010 World Indoor Championships, then threw a personal best 21.24/69-8 to win her third consecutive outdoor World Championship in 2011. Ostapchuk out-threw Adams at the 2012 Olympics but was stripped of her medal due to a doping violation, giving Adams her second Olympic triumph. Adams then prevailed at the Moscow World Championships in 2013, throwing 20.88/68-6. Adams also earned the 2012 World Indoor championship.
- Height: 6-4
- Weight: 267
- Birth date: October 6, 1984
- Hometown: Rotorua, New Zealand
- World Championships: Six (four outdoors)
- Personal best: 21.54 meters (69 feet, 8 inches)