A group of 20 students had the privilege of meeting and being coached by double Olympic Shot Put Champion, Dame Valerie Adams.

New Zealander, Valerie Adams was at Somerset College at the end of Term Two, as part of the weeklong Oceania Throws Clinic hosted here at the College. Valerie was here to help upskill athletes and coaches from the Oceania region, as well as help her Para Olympic Champion sister, Lisa Adams prepare for the World Paralympic Championships in Paris.

Head of Athletics, Mr Scott Walsh organised a 45-minute Q and A with Valerie followed by a 45-minute Shot Put masterclass coaching session. The Q and A was an enlightening affair with Valerie talking about her tough upbringing in South Auckland amongst her 12 brothers and sisters, her rise to the top of world athletics, her two Olympic Gold Medals (2008,2012), her damehood (equivalent to the male knighthood honour), her retirement and family life. Her powerful messages of making sure you have great people ‘on your bus’ and not being afraid to kick people off your bus, when they’re not helping you get to where you want to go. As well as when a ‘ray of light’ is offered to you, you take full advantage of that opportunity. These messages, along with many others, helped Valerie to achieve five World Athletic Championships Gold medals, three Commonwealth Gold Medals, a World Athlete of the Year award in 2014 as well as remain undefeated for 100 plus consecutive athletic meets. A dominance in sport that few other athletes can claim!

Following our chat, Valerie helped guide our up and coming Shot Putter’s in a 45-minute coaching clinic where she provided each individual with quality feedback about their throwing technique. Valerie’s hulking 6 foot 5 and 120kg frame made her look like she was throwing a marble as opposed to a three-kilogram shot put! Her cheeky nature and positive comments quickly endeared who to all the students present. I think all the students who were lucky enough to meet Valerie, were enthralled by her presence and advice. It’s not often you get to meet an athlete who has achieved such success at the highest level possible. 

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