Twitter broke the news last night of Valerie Adams' gold medal promotion at the London Olympics. We were sceptical when we saw the first unsubstantiated reference to Nadzeya Ostapchuk's expulsion from the games, but within minutes the story became official, with the IOC decision that we published last night. Thanks to Twitter, we had a blog-post up before any of the New Zealand MSM reported the sensational story.
But this isn't about Twitter, or about us; it's about Valerie Adams, who has become New Zealnd's first track and field repeat gold medallist since Peter Snell in 1960 and 1964. Stuff reports on last night's dramatic turn of events:
Alone in her car in Switzerland, Valerie Adams never dreamed this would be where she discovered she was a double Olympic shot put champion.Instead of climbing the podium before a packed house of 80,000 and her family at the Olympic Stadium, gold medal around her neck and national anthem playing, a telephone call from New Zealand chef de mission Dave Currie today informed Adams that her Belarusian rival, Nadezya Ostapchuk, had tested positive to a banned steroid.Silver had turned into gold.Cue all manner of emotions; shock, joy, disbelief, anger, and no-one to share the moment with. As she arrived at the home of her coach Jean-Pierre Egger, it all spilled out.''When I got here [to Egger's house] I burst into tears as his wife opened the door. She looked worried and asked why I was crying so much. I belted out 'we won, we won the gold medal' and I just fell into JP's arms and just shared a moment. We shared a moment of distress and disappointment on the sixth of August but today we shared a moment of happiness. It's overwhelming,'' Adams said.But if Adams felt anger towards Ostapchuk for robbing her of glory atop the podium, she bit her lip.''It's a pity it came out a week later but she's caught now. It was her moment but that's the only moment she'll be able to live now because it's all taken away from her. I don't want to waste any energy thinking about how I feel about her.''I'm overwhelmed that I've won the gold medal and very humbled by all the people who have stood by me. The support of the public has been absolutely fantastic.''
Valerie Adams is an amazing athlete. She has been blessed with an ideal physique for her chosen sport, and she has a strong work ethic. In a sport usually dominated by late bloomers, she is young by comparison, and will now be motivated to become New Zealand's first-ever athlete to win three consecutive Olympic titles.
There was plenty of criticism of Adams' performance in London, and amongst other things, she was vilified in some quarters for having choked. Now the truth has emerged; Adams was beaten by a drug cheat, whose sudden improvement in performance in the months before the Olympics had raised eyebrows and suspicions.
It will be a bittersweet moment for Valerie Adams. Yes; she is the Olympic champion. But she has missed the opportunity to bask in the moment of glory of the medal presentation ceremony. That was stolen from her by an athlete whose preferred method of training was pharmaceutical rather than physical.