Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore has died aged 24.
The New Zealand cycling community has been shocked by her sudden death on Monday, confirmed by her family in social media posts.
Mitchell Podmore, brother of Olivia, posted on Facebook: “Rest in peace to my gorgeous sister and loved daughter of Phil Podmore. You will be in our hearts forever.”
Podmore, from Canterbury, represented New Zealand at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the women’s team sprint event and rode at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships that year.
Podmore won silver in the team sprint and bronze in the time trial at the Junior World Champs in Astana in 2015.
She was also the 2017 national keirin champion.
In an Instagram post earlier on Monday — since removed — Podmore outlined the pressures of competing at the highest level.
“Sport is an amazing outlet for so many people, it’s a struggle, it’s a fight but it’s so joyous,” she wrote.
“The feeling when you win is unlike any other, but the feeling when you lose, when you don’t get selected even when you qualify, when your injured, when you don’t meet society’s expectations such a owning a house, marriage, kids all because [you’re] trying to give everything to your sport is also unlike any other.”
Aussie cycling legend Anna Meares was among many members of the international cycling community to pay their respects.
In a statement on Monday evening, Cycling New Zealand said its riders and staff “are deeply saddened with the loss of one of our young cyclists”.
“Olivia was a much loved and respected rider in our Cycling New Zealand squad.
“At this time we are providing support to our staff and riders, the cycling community and those that were close to Olivia.
“Cycling New Zealand extend our deepest sympathies to Olivia’s family at this time and we ask that media respect the privacy of Olivia’s family, friends and our riders.”
The New Zealand Olympic Committee said it was deeply saddened by the loss of Olympian #1333 and cyclist Olivia Podmore.