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2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Women's Shot Put



Host City: Beijing, China Format: Top 12 and ties and all those reaching 18.45 metres advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 16, 2008  
Date Finished: August 16, 2008  
(Competitors: 35; Countries: 22; Finalists: 15)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF    2008_olympic_stadium.jpg
Ostapchuk (20.98) and Mikhnevich (20.70) headed the pre-Olympic world list, but World Champion Vili was the favourite having been unbeaten in nine contests during 2008. After leading the qualifying round, the physically imposing (193/123Kg) Vili sent her first throw in the final out to an Oceanian record of 20.56, and the gold medal was won. Mikhnevich (née Khoronenko) responded well in the second round, but Vili dominated the competition with the top three throws. Behind these two, González was a surprising third with 19.30, until the underperforming Ostapchuk finally produced a reasonable throw of 19.86 in round 5. To her credit, the Cuban immediately responded with 19.50, which was only good enough for fourth place. For the first time since 1988 the top eight all threw at least 19m.
Summary by      
At the 2007 World Championships, Valerie Vili (NZL) outdueled Belarusian Nadezhda Ostapchuk. They were back for Beijing and expected to repeat their battle. Also expected to contend was the 2006 European Champion, Ostapchuk’s teammate Natalya Mikhnevich. In the opening round, Vili struck first with 20.56 (67-5½), a new PR for her. And that would win the gold medal. Mikhnevich answered in round two with her best mark, 20.28 (66-6½), but that was only good for the silver. Ostapchuk struggled early and barely qualified for the final three throws. In round five, she got off 19.86 (65-2), good for the bronze medal. Vili did not quit after her opening winner, posting an excellent series with 20.40 (66-11¼) in round two, 20.26 (66-5¾) in round three, and 20.52 (67-4) in round five.


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Natalya Lisovskaya (URS) 22.63 m Moscow, Soviet Union 7 June 1987
Olympic record  Ilona Slupianek (GDR) 22.41 m Moscow, Soviet Union 24 July 1980

No new world or Olympic records were set for this event.


The women's shot put event at the 2008 Olympic Games took place on 16 August at the Beijing Olympic Stadium. The qualifying standards were 18.35 m (60 ft 2 in) (A standard) and 17.20 m (56 ft 5 in) (B standard).

The event was won by Valerie Vili (née Adams) of New Zealand, with a best throw of 20.56 metres

Women's Shot Put - FINAL


‘One World, One Dream’ is the Beijing Olympic Games slogan but in the context of the women’s Shot Put final this evening, it might as well have been ‘One Girl, One Dream’ come true.

We previewed this event as a simple Valerie Vili vs Belarussia battle and anyone glancing at the results sheet and seeing the New Zealander’s gold medal ahead of silver and bronze for the Belarus pairing of Natallia Mikhnevich and Nadezhda Ostapchuk would assume that had been the case.

The competitive reality was quite different.

The women’s Shot Put final of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad will go down as being a solo demonstration of the ability of 23-year-old who now holds all the major titles open to her – Olympic Games, World outdoor and indoor championships, World Cup and Commonwealth Games - not forgetting that during her rise to become the world’s pre-eminent putter she also won the 2001 Youth and 2002 Junior World titles.

Vili’s last competition prior to these Games had been here in Beijing Bird’s Nest on 23 May when she won the test competition for these Olympics which inaugurated the competition facilities of this new 91,000 seater stadium.

Her test brought her victory with a put of 19.41m, but tonight’s victory series never dipped below 20m, and her opening heave of 20.56 added two centimetres to her Area record. Vili followed with 20.40, 20.26, 20.01, 20.52, with a pass in the sixth round a not unsurprising decision considering that she was by then already the gold medallist.

Aside this parade by Vili, there was a battle of sorts for the minor medals, though Mikhnevich in silver was as secure in some respects as the peerless Vili, thanks to a 20.23 release in the second round and 20.10 effort to finish.

Ostapchuk, the 2005 World champion and this season’s world leader thanks to a 20.97 in Minsk at the end of July, only got into gear with her fifth round effort of 19.86 which she followed with 19.36 in the last round. It was enough for bronze and to bring some respectability for Ostapchuk who had been languishing in seventh place and way out of medal contention before her penultimate attempt.

“To come out on top feels amazing, so freaking amazing. I can’t explain what’s going on through my head right now. I couldn’t have asked for a better day or moment,” said Vili. “I wanted to make an impression on the other throwers and it worked.”

“You never put your guard down with the Belarussians. Coming into this competition, I was ranked number 3. I had to give my all,” concluded Vili.

There will be some celebrating to so for silver medallist Mikhnevich too, as her husband Andrei took bronze in the men’s Shot last night.

Chris Turner for the IAAF

'This one’s for me', says Vili


BeijingWorld Youth champion in 2001, World Junior gold in 2002, fifth in her first senior World Championships in 2003, third in 2005, Commonwealth champion in 2006, World champion in 2007, World indoor champion in 2008.

If you just looked at the stats you might think Valerie Vili’s rise to the height of Olympic shot put champion was something of an inevitability. But she wouldn’t see it that way.

For this cheerfully likeable Kiwi the journey to Olympic gold will be forever tinged with sadness at the memory of where it started, eight years ago, at home with her mother in Auckland watching the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games.

“I would like to be part of that,” thought the 15-year-old girl, as she gazed at Cathy Freeman standing high on a watery platform with the Olympic torch in hand. The next day her mother died.

But somehow the dream lived on. Vili had been doing a bit of shot put at school because, as she puts it, “I was the biggest kid and got thrown into it”, and after her mother’s death it was putting the shot that helped her through the ordeal.

She started breaking school records and, well, you could say the rest is history, but that’s not quite the case.

Vili’s dream of being “part of it” came true four years ago in Athens when, as it turned out, being part of it was not enough, though. Vili was only 18 – still a kid, as she says – and the experience of throwing in the final at Olympia only whetted her appetite. She wanted more than “experience”; she wanted to compete for the medals. In some ways the memory of her mother demanded that she do nothing less.

Three years later she had a World Championship medal in her bag, when, 12 months ago, Vili became the youngest ever world shot put champion when, at 22, she took gold in Osaka.

Famously, just moments after she had snatched that dramatic victory in the last round over the reigning champion Nadezhda Ostapchuk of Belarus, she turned to the nearest TV camera and mouthed a silent message to her Mum, and her late father, who’d died just a few months before.

“This was dedicated to them,” she told journalists at the time, her eyes full of tears.

There were no tears this year. And no dramatics. She dominated the Olympic final in Beijing’s National Stadium on Saturday night to claim New Zealand’s first track and field gold since 1500m runner John Walker in 1976. Then she danced across the track to find her coach Kirsten Hellier in the crowd, wearing a grin as broad as the Bird’s Nest.

Again she pointed to the attentive lense of a TV camera. “This one was for me,” she said. “Tonight was all about Val, just Val.”

This time the tears belonged to Hellier, a former Commonwealth Games javelin silver medallist.

“All I wanted to do was get onto the stands to give my coach a massive hug,” said the delighted Vili. “I can’t really explain how I’m feeling right now. It’s an amazing stadium, an amazing crowd. It’s such an awesome feeling to be here.”

Vili came to the Games as the third best in the world this year. But she’d thrown little throughout the season as she nursed a shoulder injury, and tried to relieve the pressure from New Zeland’s hopeful media. She based herself in Australia, training in Cairns and Brisbane, and flew straight to Beijing rather than heading for the New Zealand team holding camp in Hong Kong.

It was a winning strategy, for Vili quickly became the favourite after leading the qualifying round on Saturday morning with 19.73. “We could see she was in good shape,” said Ostapchuk’s teammate, Nataliya Mikhnevich, who eventually took the silver ahead of her compatriot.

But Vili was taking nothing for granted. She knew she had to launch a big throw early to put pressure on her opponents and she did so with style. She opened with 20.56, breaking her own Oceania record and meaning the two Belarussians would have to find their very best to beat her.

“I wanted to put pressure on the others from the world go,” she said. “That’s why I was so happy to come away with a PB. It’s just what I wanted to do.”

Mikhnevich managed 20.28 in the third round, but by then Vili had already had a second best of 20.40, and she went on to throw 20.52 in the fifth round. Yet it was only when her rival had landed her sixth put at 20.10 that Vili allowed herself to celebrate.

“It was a long, anxious, exciting, nervous competition,” said Vili. “I just had to give it my all. Thankfully I was able to take control from the word go but you can never let your guard down with the Belarussians because they are always coming for you.”

The victory might have belonged to her, but Vili – who has 17 half brothers and sisters back in Rotorua – will surely have to share it a little. Not least with her excited nation, for her gold crowned a day that Kiwis will long remember as their greatest ever in Olympic history. With two golds, a silver and bronze, New Zealanders are already calling it Super Saturday.

Not that Vili knew that as she wrapped her nation’s flag around her shoulders. Before she left the arena she had more people to find in the crowd. Vili set off on a lap of honour and half way down the back straight she found who she was looking for – her sister Vivien and her niece, Amcl.

“They came all the way over here to support me and I wanted to find them to say thank you,” she explained.

As they embraced, you imagine Vivien and Val shared a few thoughts for their Mum too, and that evening long ago when they sat together watching Australia’s iconic Olympian open the Sydney Games. Perhaps this one wasn’t just for Val, after all.

Matthew Brown for the IAAF

Shot Put Women     Final 16 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 20.56     Valerie Adams New Zealand NZL 6 Oct 84 AR
2 20.28     Natallia Mikhnevich Belarus BLR 25 May 82  
3 19.86     Nadzeya Ostapchuk Belarus BLR 12 Oct 80  
4 19.50     Misleydis González Cuba CUB 19 Jun 78  
5 19.20     Gong Lijiao China CHN 24 Jan 89  
6 19.08     Anna Omarova Russia RUS 3 Oct 81  
7 19.01     Nadine Kleinert Germany GER 20 Oct 75  
8 19.00     Li Meiju China CHN 3 Oct 81  
9 18.44     Olga Ivanova Russia RUS 6 Apr 79  
10 18.28     Mailín Vargas Cuba CUB 24 Mar 83  
11 18.27     Christina Schwanitz Germany GER 24 Dec 85  
12 18.24     Jill Camarena-Williams United States USA 2 Aug 82  
13 18.22     Chiara Rosa Italy ITA 28 Jan 83  
14 17.94     Li Ling China CHN 7 Feb 85  
15 17.74     Michelle Carter United States USA 12 Oct 85  

Women's Shot Put qualification


With 15 women qualifying automatically for tonight’s final (18.45m or better), it is easier to say who didn’t progress to the contest for medals than who did!

Essentially the two notable names to miss out were defending champion Yumileidi Cumba of Cuba, and Belarussia’s Sydney 2000 champion Yanina Pravalinskay-Karolchyk, with 17.15 and 17.79 they were lost in today’s deep tide of quality.

World outdoor and indoor champion Valerie Vili of New Zealand and Belarussia’s Nadzeya Ostapchuk who was the global gold medallist in Helsinki two years before and heads this year’s lists with 20.98, progressed with ease into the final thanks to first round puts of 19.73 and 19.08. Vili’s mark was the best of the qualification round overall, topping out Group A, while Ostapchuk’s heave was the second furthest release of the second pool of competitors.

There will be a complete squad of Chinese to keep the crowd pumped up. 19 year-old Gong Lijiao's 19.46m PB, which headed Group ‘B’ is the best junior result in the Shot Put since 1994 (Cheng Xiaoyan's Asian junior rec, 20.02m). She will be joined by 2008 World Indoors bronze medallist Li Meiju whose 19.18 was a PB and Li Ling (18.60). All three were finalists in last summer’s World championships in Osaka.

While the host will have the only full compliment in the final, Belarussia, Cuba, Germany, Russia and the USA will each have pairs of putters.

Backing up Ostapchuk for Belarus will be Natallia Mikhnevich who is second in the world’s standings for 2008, and qualified with a first round 19.11.

Cuba might have lost their Olympic champion – she hasn’t been in form so it is of no real surprise - but will still be well represented by Misleydis Gonzalez (18.91) and Mailan Vargas (18.47).

Nadine Kleinert of Germany, the Olympic silver medallist in Olympia in 2004, and Christina Schwanitz who finished second to her in the national champs both went through via 18.52 and 19.09 bests respectively.

Anna Omarova, 8th at the 2007 World champs and at this winter’s World Indoors, was the best of the Russians (18.74) but it took her three attempts to achieve. Olga Ivanova made it with her final round fling of 18.46.

National champion Michelle Carter (18.49), and compatriot Jillian Camarena whose 18.51m was a season’s best, make up the US pairing in the final.

Chiara Rosa progresses (18.74) but her fellow Italian European Indoor champion Legnante Assunta does not.

Prediction – Vili vs Belarussia with a Chinese medal more than an outside possibility as their trio are inspired by 90,000 unified voices chanting ‘ China, China, China…”.

Chris Turner for the IAAF

Shot Put Women     Qualification 16 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 19.73   Q Valerie Adams New Zealand NZL 6 Oct 84  
2 19.46   Q Gong Lijiao China CHN 24 Jan 89  
3 19.18   Q Li Meiju China CHN 3 Oct 81  
4 19.11   Q Natallia Mikhnevich Belarus BLR 25 May 82  
5 19.09   Q Christina Schwanitz Germany GER 24 Dec 85  
6 19.08     Nadzeya Ostapchuk Belarus BLR 12 Oct 80  
7 18.91   Q Misleydis González Cuba CUB 19 Jun 78  
8 18.74   Q Anna Omarova Russia RUS 3 Oct 81  
9 18.74   Q Chiara Rosa Italy ITA 28 Jan 83  
10 18.60   Q Li Ling China CHN 7 Feb 85  
11 18.52   Q Nadine Kleinert Germany GER 20 Oct 75  
12 18.51   Q Jill Camarena-Williams United States USA 2 Aug 82  
13 18.49   Q Michelle Carter United States USA 12 Oct 85  
14 18.47   Q Mailín Vargas Cuba CUB 24 Mar 83  
15 18.46   Q Olga Ivanova Russia RUS 6 Apr 79  
16 18.36     Denise Hinrichs Germany GER 7 Jun 87  
17 17.96     Cleopatra Borel Trinidad and Tobago TTO 3 Oct 79  
18 17.79     Yanina Pravalinskay-Karolchyk Belarus BLR 26 Dec 76  
19 17.76     Assunta Legnante Italy ITA 14 May 78  
20 17.60     Yumileidi Cumbá Cuba CUB 11 Feb 75  
21 17.48     Anca Heltne Romania ROU 1 Jan 78  
22 17.40     Natalia Ducó Chile CHI 31 Jan 89  
23 17.34     Kristin Heaston United States USA 23 Nov 75  
24 17.15     Vivian Chukwuemeka Nigeria NGR 4 Mar 75  
25 16.84     Irina Khudoroshkina Russia RUS 13 Oct 68  
26 16.50     Iríni Terzóglou Greece GRE 2 Feb 79  
27 16.42     Ana Po'uhila-Kisina Tonga TGA 12 Oct 79  
28 16.32     Lin Chia-Ying Chinese Taipei TPE 5 Nov 82  
29 16.23     Zhang Guirong Singapore SIN 5 Feb 78  
30 15.99     Mariam Kevkhishvili Georgia GEO 17 Sep 85  
31 15.85     Zara Northover Jamaica JAM 6 Mar 84  
32 15.49     Iolanta Ulyeva Kazakhstan KAZ 27 Jul 76  
33 15.10     Lee Mi-Young South Korea KOR 19 Aug 79  
  NM     Irache Quintanal Spain ESP 18 Sep 78  
  NM     Krystyna Zabawska Poland POL 14 Jan 68  
Detailed View

Qualifying round

Qualification: Qualifying Performance 18.40 (Q) or at least 12 best performers (q) advance to the Final.

Rank Group Name Nationality 1 2 3 Result Notes
1 A Valerie Vili New Zealand 19.73     19.73 Q
2 B Gong Lijiao China 19.46     19.46 Q, PB
3 A Li Meiju China 19.18     19.18 Q, PB
4 A Natallia Mikhnevich Belarus 19.11     19.11 Q
5 A Christina Schwanitz Germany x 17.97 19.09 19.09 Q
6 B Nadzeya Ostapchuk Belarus 19.08     19.08 Q
7 A Misleydis González Cuba 18.42 18.91   18.91 Q
8 B Anna Omarova Russia 18.26 x 18.74 18.74 Q
9 A Chiara Rosa Italy 18.74     18.74 Q, SB
10 B Li Ling China 18.60     18.60 Q
11 B Nadine Kleinert Germany 18.52     18.52 Q
12 A Jillian Camarena United States 18.15 18.32 18.51 18.51 Q, SB
13 B Michelle Carter United States 18.49     18.49 Q
14 A Mailín Vargas Cuba 18.47     18.47 Q
15 A Olga Ivanova Russia 17.69 18.27 18.46 18.46 Q
16 A Denise Hinrichs Germany 18.36 18.27 x 18.36  
17 B Cleopatra Borel-Brown Trinidad and Tobago 17.96 17.32 17.57 17.96  
18 A Yanina Karolchyk-Pravalinskaya Belarus 17.44 17.77 17.79 17.79  
19 B Assunta Legnante Italy 16.93 17.76 x 17.76  
20 B Yumileidi Cumbá Cuba x 17.60 x 17.60  
21 A Anca Heltne Romania 17.48 x 17.40 17.48  
22 A Natalia Duco Chile 17.24 x 17.40 17.40  
23 A Kristin Heaston United States x 17.34 17.34 17.34  
24 B Vivian Chukwuemeka Nigeria 17.15 17.05 x 17.15  
25 B Irina Khudoroshkina Russia 16.46 16.84 16.78 16.84  
26 A Irini Terzoglou Greece 16.08 16.14 16.50 16.50  
27 B Ana Po'uhila Tonga 16.21 16.42 16.35 16.42  
28 B Lin Chia-Ying Chinese Taipei 16.24 x 16.32 16.32  
29 B Zhang Guirong Singapore x 16.23 16.08 16.23  
30 B Mariam Kevkhishvili Georgia x 15.99 x 15.99  
31 B Zara Northover Jamaica 15.73 15.85 15.64 15.85  
32 A Iolanta Ulyeva Kazakhstan 15.49 x 15.06 15.49  
33 A Lee Mi-Young South Korea 14.76 x 15.10 15.10  
  A Irache Quintanal Spain x x x NM  
  B Krystyna Zabawska Poland x x x NM  


Rank Name Nationality 1 2 3 4 5 6 Result Notes
1st Valerie Vili New Zealand 20.56 20.40 20.26 20.01 20.52 - 20.56 AR
2nd Natallia Mikhnevich Belarus 19.16 20.28 19.87 19.82 19.94 20.10 20.28  
3rd Nadzeya Ostapchuk Belarus x 18.69 18.36 x 19.86 19.36 19.86  
4 Misleydis González Cuba 19.30 x 19.01 19.23 19.50 x 19.50 PB
5 Gong Lijiao China 18.45 18.75 18.90 18.92 19.04 19.20 19.20  
6 Anna Omarova Russia 19.08 18.21 x x x 18.76 19.08  
7 Nadine Kleinert Germany 18.30 18.68 19.01 18.99 x 18.81 19.01  
8 Li Meiju China 18.68 18.99 18.74 x 18.85 19.00 19.00  
9 Olga Ivanova Russia 17.96 x 18.44   18.44  
10 Mailín Vargas Cuba 18.28 17.88 17.74   18.28  
11 Christina Schwanitz Germany x 17.96 18.27   18.27  
12 Jillian Camarena United States 18.09 18.24 17.44   18.24  
13 Chiara Rosa Italy 18.22 17.98 x   18.22  
14 Li Ling China 17.94 x 17.81   17.94  
15 Michelle Carter United States 16.97 17.65 17.74   17.74  




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