New Zealand track cyclist and Olympian Olivia Podmore dies aged 24

Cycling New Zealand said Podmore died “suddenly” on Monday but did not disclose a cause or other details.

FILE - New Zealand's Olivia Podmore in action Women's Sprint 1/8 finals at the Anna Meares Velodrome during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia.   -  AP

Olivia Podmore, a track cyclist for New Zealand who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics and in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, has died, aged 24 years.

Cycling New Zealand said Podmore died “suddenly” on Monday but did not disclose a cause or other details.

It described Podmore as a "much loved and respected rider".

Concerns for Podmore first arose after she posted a message on social media.

Police were called to her home at Cambridge, near Hamilton on New Zealand’s North Island, where she was found dead.

Discussions with the government are underway to determine whether some might be given dispensation from quarantine to attend Podmore's funeral.

Sport New Zealand chief executive Raelene Castle said Podmore had reached out for support before her death.

The head of Cycling New Zealand, Jacques Landry, was asked whether his organisation had done enough to support Podmore.

He said the sport will be “questioning this for a long time."

"She had a lot of people supporting her through her career," Landry said.

"We're now just looking back ... and want to take a step back and review that."

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Double Olympic rowing gold medalist Eric Murray said, "We've lost a sister, a friend, and a fighter who lost that will of fight inside of her."

He said that he and Podmore had been snowboarding together on Sunday, and he was likely the last person to see her alive.

He further added that she was happy and smiling and that he had no cause to be concerned for her well-being.

"With Olivia’s final words, she left us a message, a message that we wish we will never have to be read again by anyone else," Murray said.

Cycling New Zealand, after Podmore’s death, noted that many are "understandably devastated” and, without elaboration, urged people to seek help for mental health if needed.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee said it has begun offering support to athletes and staff on the country's Olympic team.

Castle added that some cyclists who recently returned from the Tokyo Olympics were finding it "very difficult" in managed isolation, which is part of the country's strict border regulations imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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