Dame Val Adams tears up talking about her late mum

Source: 1News

While Dame Valerie Adams hasn't said what's next for her career, last night she received the honour of carrying out the New Zealand flag at the Toyko Olympic Games closing ceremony. 

It's an opportunity the shot putter was surprised to be given, admitting to Breakfast's John Campbell she'd been "taken aback" when asked.

"When Rob [Waddell] asked me to be the flag bearer for the closing ceremony, to be honest I was actually quite shocked... It was pretty awesome to be asked and also I feel honoured and humbled to hold our flag nice and high." 

When Adams first competed at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, New Zealand's youngest athlete in Tokyo, Erica Fairweather, hadn't even turned one.

Adams, 36, won an impressive four Olympic medals, gold in Beijing and London, silver in Rio and now a bronze last week in Tokyo. 

But it's the latest win that holds a special place in her heart, having come back from time away from the sport after having two children. 

"It's definitely been a very different campaign leading into Tokyo but one that I've really, really treasured and loved.

"The journey hasn't always been roses and happiness; there has been a lot of difficulty along the way but I wouldn't change it for the world." 

Dame Valerie Adams reacts after winning bronze in the women's shot put final.

Adams attributes a large part of her success in becoming one of the country's most successful female Olympians to her strong support network, backing her every step of the way. 

"To be honest, I really take a lot of motivation and inspiration from these special humans in my life, it's been an amazing journey as I say, but I really hope I've made them proud and also Aotearoa."

She noted that when first taking up shot put, her mum Lilika - who died in 2000 - had been her "biggest inspiration" and is now hoping to pass that on to her two young kids as they grow older. 

"Now to be a mum myself I really hope that one day my kids can look back and actually learn what I've done." 

Her time in Japan is far from over, coaching her sister Lisa Adams in her first Paralympic games later this month as she makes her debut in the women's shot put F37.