10 Aug 2021

Cycling world pays tribute to Olivia Podmore after her sudden death

2:53 pm on 10 August 2021

Cyclist Olivia Podmore who competed at the Rio Olympics in 2016 has died suddenly.

New Zealand cyclist Olivia Podmore.


Podmore represented New Zealand at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018. In 2017 she was New Zealand keirin champion.

Olympic track cyclist and former teammate Natasha Hansen posted a tribute on Facebook which she said she was devastated to have to write.

"You have broken so many hearts today. We have been through many ups and downs together and shared in so many highs and lows... The last couple of years has been so great to reconnect on a deeper level but I am devastated that this has come to such a sudden end. I cannot fathom the pain your family and closest friends must be feeling right now, but I hope they are comforted by the fact that you are loved by so many and have touched so many hearts. They are in all our thoughts and prayers. Your beauty will be forever remembered... Rest peacefully gorgeous girl. Olivia Podmore OLY #1333"

In a post on Instagram, the New Zealand Olympic Committee said it was "deeply saddened by the loss of Olympian #1333, Olivia Podmore".

Natasha Hansen and Olivia Podmore of New Zealand during the Women's Sprint.

Natasha Hansen and Olivia Podmore during the Women's Sprint at Rio Olympics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Former Olympic Australian cyclist Anna Meares wrote a tribute on Twitter, urging others to reach out if they are feeling alone or helpless.

Podmore was a regular at Cycling Southland's track, which posted its condolences to Facebook.

In a statement on Facebook, High Performance Sport New Zealand said it is working directly with Cycling New Zealand to support their community of athletes, coaches and staff. It is also prioritising support for our HPSNZ people who have been affected by this sudden loss.

"We are very conscious that many of the current New Zealand Olympic athletes and other team members, who knew Olivia, are currently returning to MIQ. A significant amount of work has been done in advance to ensure the team have the support they need for their physical and mental wellbeing in MIQ, and this work will be ongoing for the duration of their stay."

On Monday, Podmore posted a since-deleted emotional message on social media talking about the pressures of high performance sport.

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