Valerie Adams has been appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year honours for services to athletics.
From humble beginnings in South Auckland the 32 year old has risen through the ranks of athletics to dominate the women’s shot put on the global stage and carve out an impressive record. She is twice Olympic champion, four times World champion, three times World Indoor champion and three times Commonwealth Champion. Adams is one of only nine athletes to win a world championship title at youth, junior and senior levels and was the first woman to win four consecutive individual titles at the world senior championships.
Adams said that she was very humbled and honoured to receive the award.
“To be recognised in this way is very humbling for me. I'm a very proud New Zealander and very proud to have this so bestowed. I'm delighted.”
“I have been blessed with an amazing career, with so many highlights both on and off the field. I love representing my country and I take the responsibility that comes with wearing the black singlet very seriously. I have had great opportunities to work in the community here in New Zealand and in the Pacific, sharing my stories and experiences to help provide inspiration, motivation, and hope, where I can for our youth to pursue their goals and develop their talents in sport, in school, in life,” she said
Adams was New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year for seven consecutive years from 2006 and was the Halberg supreme award winner in 2008 and 2009. She was awarded the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s Lonsdale Cup five times and was named the IAAF 2014 women’s World Athlete of the year, becoming the first thrower to win the award in ten years. She is five times IAAF Diamond League winner in the women’s shot put.
In the USA Adams was twice women’s Track & Field News athlete of the year and was voted the year’s number one women’s shot putter on nine occasions.
Adams thanked everyone for all the love and support on the journey. “But we haven’t finished yet, helping people to realise their potential keeps me going,” she added.
New Zealand athletics now has three Knights and a Dame, Adams joining Knights Sir Murray Halberg, Sir Peter Snell and Sir John Walker.
Adams, who was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2009 New Year honours for services to athletics, becomes the youngest New Zealander to receive a knighthood.at 32 surpassing Sir Edmund Hillary and Dame Susan Devoy (both 34).
Other athletics identities to receive awards are athletics coach and administrator Raylene Bates who is the Athletics New Zealand High Performance Para-Athlete Manager, along with Paralympic Gold Medallists Liam Malone and Anna Grimaldi. All three were made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).
Former Para-Athlete Kate Horan was also awarded an MNZM and Rosemary McKay receives a QSM.