Dame Valerie Adams retires size 14 throwing shoes

By James Perry

One of Aotearoa's greatest sports stars, Dame Valerie Adams, has retired from shot put after 22 years of competing on the international stage.

"Today I'm here to share with you all that I'm officially hanging up these size 14 throwing shoes," she told media today, announcing her retirement

In that time, Dame Valerie became one of the most decorated track and field athletes New Zealand has produced. She has won four Olympic medals (two gold, a silver and a bronze), five  Commonwealth Games medals (three gold, two silver), four indoor world championships, four outdoor world championships and two world cups. 

Her most recent achievement was winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year. She said she has contemplated since then about continuing in the sport, before reaching today's announcement. "I took some time to really process this thought and to see if it was something I actually wanted to do again. My heart, mind and body simply answered the question for me so it's time to call it a day.

"Representing Aotearoa for the past 22 years has given me so much joy. As my life's work, I'm humbled to show that little old New Zealand has what it takes to be the best in the world."

Following her own campaign in Tokyo, she switched focus to her sister Lisa, coaching her to a gold medal in the F37 Shot Put. She says while today's announcement brings an end to her career in the circle, athletics will continue to play a role in her life, committing to continue coaching Lisa.

"My mind is happy as I look forward to spending more time with my beautiful family. I'll continue to coach my sister Lisa in her journey to the next Paralympics as well as working in my community and with my incredible sponsors."

She hopes to continue inspiring more girls to forge a pathway in athletics, "To all of those that dare lift the shot, I'm looking at you, girl, do so with my blessing as it has been to me. I give also to you, strength and courage. There is the dream good and true. Take it."

In Tokyo last year, Adams carried the flag for New Zealand at the closing ceremony, a moment she said meant a lot to her and her family.

"One day when my children Kimoana and Kepaleli understand what their mum does I hope they will be just as proud of this significant moment too," Adams said at the time.

"I hope to continue to inspire female athletes all around the world that if you want to have a kid and you want to come back and be at the top of the world, you can, you can absolutely do that and today's a testament to that."

Adams was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit at the 2017 New Year's Honours.