Dame Valerie Adams has won a bronze medal in the women's shot put final at the Tokyo Olympics this afternoon.
Having qualified for the final on Friday, Dame Valerie opened the day with a first attempt of 18.62m while her compatriot Maddi Wesche managed 17.45m.
The two-time Olympic champion then followed up with a 19.49m throw in her second effort to sit third in the field of 12.
Wesche, the youngest competitor in the women’s shot put final, then moved into eighth with a second throw of 18.42m – a significant effort given only the top eight competitors after the first three rounds moved on to the final.
Adams improved again with her third attempt, registering 19.62m – just 0.03m behind second-place Raven Saunders from the USA, with China’s Lijiao Gong first with a 19.98m effort.
The other American, Jessica Ramsey, was the first major upset of the final as she registered a third failed attempt to finish last, despite being only one of two finalists to have thrown over 20 metres this year.
Unfortunately for Wesche, Germany’s Sara Gambetta pushed the young Kiwi out of the top eight with a personal best effort of 18.88m on her third throw.
In response, ninth-placed Wesche threw her own personal best of 18.98m to jump back ahead of Gambetta and sit sixth, guaranteeing herself a spot in the final eight alongside her hero Dame Valerie in the process.
At that point, the field was reduced from 12 to eight and the order was revised based on the efforts of the day so far, seeing Wesche going third for the final three attempts while Dame Valerie would throw sixth.
Wesche began the final phase with an 18.18m effort while Dame Valerie didn’t register her fourth attempt after an off-balance throw, but was still sitting in the bronze medal position with two rounds left.
In the penultimate round, Wesche threw 18.50m while Dame Valerie, again, didn’t register her throw. Portugal’s Auriol Dongmo was closing in on the bronze position though, having thrown 19.57m in round four and 19.45m in round five.
American Saunders put space between her and Dame Valerie with her penultimate throw, registering 19.79m but China’s Gong then did the same in the gold medal position with a massive personal best of 20.53m – the benchmark set for the final round.
Wesche finished her first Olympic final with an 18.47m throw to claim sixth.
Portugal’s Dongmo could only manage 19.45m with her final attempt, meaning Dame Valerie was guaranteed a medal.
Dame Valerie then threw 18.76m with her final attempt and while it wasn’t enough to push her into silver - an honour that went to Saunders with Gong holding on to gold - the Kiwi celebrated the special moment regardless, becoming an Olympic medallist for the fourth time, but the first as a mother of two.