Family affair: Valerie Adams joined by younger sister Lisa Adams at Tokyo 2020

New Zealand's double Olympic gold medal winning shot put star Valerie Adams is coaching her younger sister who has made the Kiwi Paralympics team

By Ashlee Tulloch
Picture by 2020 Getty Images

When Valerie Adams heads to Tokyo 2020 to take part in her fifth Olympic Games, she won’t be the only Adams competing in shot put.

Her sister Lisa Adams has booked her place at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, from August 24- September 5.

The 30-year-old who has cerebral palsy, is coached by her Kiwi double Olympic gold medal winning sister.

"This is my very first experience and I’ve only ever watched my sister before at the Olympics. But I’m excited for my sister and excited for myself," she told Stuff.

Adams life-changing journey to Tokyo

Despite shot put clearly being in her blood, a few short years ago, her interest in the sport was purley as a spectator.

Lisa's rise in athletics has been rapid.

"I’m late to this sport, but when I started Tokyo was the dream and my sister, my coach, helped me turn that into a goal." - Lisa Adams

Although Valerie, a four time-world champion has a long history in the sport, Lisa only started competing in Para athletics after a New Zealand coach read an article about her playing rugby league. She encourgaed Lisa to give it a go.

The life transformation began.

“When I first started, I was a smoker, a bad eater and I was running on about four hours sleep a night," she told Newsroom.

“Shot put and athletics were always Val’s thing. But I was given an opportunity and I have to take it,” Adams said in 2019.

A year after picking up the ball, she broke the women’s shot put F37 world record at the 2019 New Zealand national track and field championships.

Her progression only continued throughout the year, besting her record three more times and clinching gold at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.

Time and teacher on her side

Tokyo 2020's 12-month postponement has a silver lining for Lisa.

It was a blessing which gave her more time to prepare.

"When I first started ... it was like ‘okay, we’re going to try and do this in two years', so the postponement meant we ended up doing it in three.

"I’ve grown a lot, especially this year a few things have happened that’s set off little light bulbs for me, which is quite helpful," Adams told Stuff.

Lisa is touted to be a strong contender in Tokyo.

Some would expect nothing less given who her sister and coach is.

“We train hard. Val’s hard on me, but I like it. We’re pretty honest with each other and she’s just been amazing,” says the younger Adams.

Soaking up the knowledge

Lisa has been learning as much as possible from her big sister the past few years.

The time has been great for both Lias'a performance and their relationship.

“I love the fact that she’s so driven. At training we have a coach/athlete relationship, but when we’re not at training we’re just two sisters. It’s awesome,” Valerie says.

They both take pride in this sister-act.

“I’m so proud of Lisa – the amount of training she’s doing, the choices that she’s making and how organised she is. This has been life-changing for her – she’s done a 180 on her life,” says Val.

"Training’s going well. Now I'll just work my a.... off and hope to smash it when we get there," says Lisa.