“If I can inspire one person to change their life forever I can die happy.”

This was just one of the inspirational messages that shot put champion Valerie Adams told young track and field athletes at a Talk Shop at the VIP Lounge, Hasely Crawford Stadium, on Wednesday.

Adams, who is from New Zealand, is currently in T&T training with her friend Cleopatra Borel. Adams and Borel have been friends since the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Adams took the time to pass on some advice and told the young athletes and coaches how she got involved in track and field. Also in attendance at the Talk Shop were T&T Olympians Jehue Gordon and Andrew Lewis.

Adams said that she turned a sad time in her life to something positive following the death of her mother due to cancer in 2000. “In 2000 I was 15, and my mom was quite ill. I was watching the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and I was saying that one day I want to be there. It would be amazing if one day I could walk with the flag at the Olympics.” Adams said from that point it was her dream to compete at the Olympic Games. Shortly after Adams’ mother passed away and she used track and field as a way of dealing with her emotions.

“I took track and field as a way to get rid of my sadness and anger. In the back of my mind I said I just wanted to make her proud.”

Adams spoke about another experience when her stepfather told her to leave the house, but she never gave up on her dream and kept fighting. “Those were situations that could have made me or break me.”

The shot put champion told the athletes to hold on to one person who can inspire them but informed them that you must work hard to be successful.

Adams, who is the two-time defending Olympic champion, qualified for her first Olympics at the 2004 Athens Games. “Getting to my first Olympics that was everything, this is what we dream for. This is the pinnacle of our sport. That is the highest you can go.”

The shot put athlete said you must remain focused at the Olympics, because an athlete can get distracted at such a grand event.

Adams also spoke about the subject of drugs, diet and nutrition and mental preparation as important tools which can break or make an athlete.