From the Silver Sphere to the big screen, Dame Valerie Adams says she’s ready to bare her soul in a film that will tell her life story like never before.
The iconic Kiwi athlete, who ruled the shot put world for most of a 22-year career, announced her official retirement from the sport in Auckland on Tuesday when she confirmed she had withstood the temptation to go one more round at the Commonwealth Games, and hung up his well-worn size 14 throwing shoes.
In a tearful and candid appearance, the 37-year-old mother-of-two said she had wrapped up her long and successful career – four Olympic medals, eight world titles and an unbeaten streak that spanned nine years and 107 events – with no regrets and a lot of special memories, but also with some anxiety about the rest of his career.
Adams is unlikely to have too much free time as she embarks on this next phase of her life, with the athletics legend confirming, as well as being mother to 4-year-old Kimoana and Kepaleli , 2, will continue to coach her sister, Lisa, as she seeks to add to her Paralympic gold medal in Tokyo’s shot put, and also expand her work in the community, with her sponsors and as a as an athlete representative at the international and national levels.
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She also confirmed Thing that she is heavily involved in a film about her life story which she hopes will hit our screens by the end of the year, or soon after, and show a side of she that few people know.
“It’s going to be a pretty awesome movie,” she said with a smile. “We did a lot of filming. I think it’s going to have a lot of impact. Kids these days don’t really read books anymore so this will be a way for me to tell my story in film and hopefully people will see that I’m more than a person throwing a steel ball .”
Indeed, Adams promised a revealing biopic that would show a side of her that has rarely seen the light of day through her record-breaking career.
“I’ve been quite vulnerable and open about life challenges throughout my life in different parts of my life, from IVF to diabetes, to hospice, loss of parents, etc., etc. . It’s just a way of summing it all up for people. I’m excited and can’t wait for it to come out. »
Adams said she had concerns about what’s next – ‘It’s all I know, my life, my second home – the track, the circle, the gym’ – but was confident her next challenges would come. rather early.
“All of a sudden I have to figure out where my place is now, and the sense of belonging, and how can I fit into a normal life. I know I have a lot to do, but this is the first part of sorting out the rest of my life.
One aspect of the latter part of her competitive life that she hopes to continue is her work representing her competitors. She is Vice-Chair of the Athletes Commission of World Athletics, Chair of the Oceania Athletes Commission and also leads the High Performance Athletes Commission of Athletics NZ.
Asked about the biggest challenges athletes currently face, she ignored drug cheating, which has plagued her throughout her career, and named a more contemporary issue.
“Most important to us is the mental well-being of athletes, and that comes down to the situation we’re in right now with Covid,” she said. “Things like accessibility to competitions and travel bubbles. Finding competitions to play in was one of the challenges we faced last year, as you had to commit to being away for so long.
“For us, it’s about making sure we’re available so athletes know we’re there for them and their voices are heard. This is the only way for Athletics NZ to improve as an organization but also for the athletes to have a say.
Adams said she also hopes that everything she and her peers fought for and established in their day isn’t lost on the new breed of athletes to come.
“When I started winning medals, we had no funding or even a program. I used to train at the Warriors parking lot or at the gymnasium at Macleans College. We made do with what we had,” she said. “So to see the sport grow and get some funding, I’m super happy to have left it in the position it’s in. We’re in a much better position now.
“I just hope the athletes don’t expect that. It’s something that other athletes have worked so hard to put the sport in this position. Don’t come here and ask for alms…you have to work for this alms. A lot of us had to work and a lot of our livelihood depended a lot on those big championships. If you didn’t win, you wouldn’t have funding for the following year.
“Before, the Pegs grant was $10,000; now athletes receive up to $60,000. This is how far things have come. I hope it continues like this and I hope these athletes know that it is a privilege and an honor to play a sport like this and get the support they need.