New Zealand Sports Minister demands answers on Adams shambles
Thursday, 23 August 2012
August 23 - New Zealand's Sports Minister Murray McCully has launched an investigation into the administrative mix-up that nearly prevented Valerie Adams competing at London 2012.
She was originally omitted from the starting list for the shot put before being added in time to compete where she originally won the silver medal before being upgraded to the gold after Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk, the woman who won originally, was stripped of the title following a positive test for anabolic steroids.
Adams claims that, combined with problems over her accommodation in London and an ill-fitting competition uniform, it pushed her "over the edge".
She had demanded an inquest and McCully has now met with Adams' manager Nick Cowan, members of the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC), and Alex Baumann, the chief executive of High Performance Sport New Zealand, to discuss the issues.
The NZOC and High Performance Sport New Zealand will produce a report on the affair which has taken some off the gloss off New Zealand's performance in London where the team won a total of 13 medals, including six gold, their best performance since Los Angeles in 1984.
"I'm very confident that you'll now see the sector step up and show some leadership in addressing the shortcomings that were evident [in London]," said McCully.
"I look forward to hearing the results of their work when it's complete.
"I do want to express my confidence that they get it; they understand why we can't have this happen again and I'm very satisfied that people are going to deal with the issues that need to be dealt with."
Adams, 27, has an English father and could be eligible to comepte for Britain if she wanted.
But McCully is confident that she will continue to compete for New Zealand despite the problems during London 2012, which included being forced to share a room in the Olympic Village when other less successful athletes in the team had their own.
"She's got a lot to offer, not just as someone who can win medals on New Zealand's behalf but as someone who can act as a good role model," said McCully.
McCully has also promised that the New Zealand Government would help to ensure there is a quick resolution to helping Adams receive her gold medal from London 2012.
The prospect of a long delay has arisen after Ostapchuk revealed she plans to appeal against her disqualification, claiming she is the victim of a conspiracy.
"A lot of New Zealanders would want to see her compensated for her inability to share that moment on the dais at the Olympics," said McCully.
"They'd want to see her given a suitable accolade in New Zealand and we're very keen to do anything we can to help that."
August 2012: Appeal by disgraced Belarus shot putter set to delay Adams' medal presentation
August 2012: New Zealander upgraded to London 2012 gold medal wins Stockholm Diamond League
August 2012: Olympic shot put champion stripped of gold medal after testing positive for drugs