Dame Valerie Adams. Credit: Photosport

Adams was born in Rotorua and started competing at the age of 14.

She took part in her first World Youth Championships in 1999, won gold at the World Youth Championships in 2001, and attended her first Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002, where she won a silver medal.

Since Manchester, Adams has won gold at all her Commonwealth Games appearances – Melbourne in 2006, Delhi in 2010 and Glasgow in 2014. 

She has also won two Olympic gold medals and one silver since competing in her first Olympic Games at Athens in 2004. 

Her gold medal win at the 2008 Beijing Olympics made her the first New Zealand athletics gold medallist since 1976 and the first female athletics gold medallist since 1952.

In 2004, she also became the first New Zealand woman to break the 19-metre barrier with a throw of 19.29m.

She was unbeaten in major world events between 2006 and 2014 and had an unprecedented winning streak of 107 competitions during that period.

Adams has won 15 New Zealand shot put titles and was the Halberg Sportswoman of the Year for seven consecutive years, from 2006 to 2016.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Adams finished second with a throw of 20.42m.

She was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017.

In the Gold Coast, Adams is competing for her fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games shot put gold medal. It is her first major international competition since the birth of her first child, daughter Kimoana, in October 2017.