Latter-day Saints at the Olympics: Medalist carries her country’s flag at closing ceremonies

New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams was her country’s flag bearer for the closing ceremonies of 2020 Olympic Games on Aug. 8.

“To represent our team and Aotearoa tonight as we close these Games together means a lot to me and my family,” she wrote in post on the New Zealand team’s Instagram stories when she was announced as the flag bearer. “One day when my children Kimoana and Kepaleli understand what their mum does I hope they will be just as proud of this significant moment, too.”  

Valeries Adams, left, carries the New Zealand flag past the Olympic flame during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
Valeries Adams, left, carries the New Zealand flag past the Olympic flame during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Screenshot from nbcolympics.com

The 36-year-old five-time Olympian won bronze in shot put in Tokyo. It’s her fourth medal in the event at the Olympics. She won gold in 2008 and 2012 and silver in 2016. As the shot put competition wrapped up in Tokyo, she held the New Zealand flag high and showed a photo of her children, ages 3 and 2, as she celebrated her bronze medal standing.   

Adams is one of 15 athletes from eight countries connected to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who competed at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Adams shared videos on her Instagram stories as she lined up and waited with the other flag bearers to enter the Olympic Stadium — the same stadium where she competed for her bronze medal.   

“The Olympics have come to an end and what a great games it has been for Aotearoa,” she posted on Instagram with photos of her and other athletes from New Zealand at the closing ceremonies. “thank you Japan for having us.” 

Read more of Church News’ coverage of athletes connected to the Church competing in the Olympics