By Jonny Long published
An independent inquiry has been launched into the death of 24-year-old Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore, who died suddenly earlier this month.
Two national governing bodies, Cycling New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) will now look into how effective changes made were after a 2018 report said HPSNZ had failed to act on bullying and behaviour claims.
"Our priority is to ensure we understand what has happened and what more can be done," Raelene Castle, the chief executive of HPSNZ, said.
"Olivia's death has focussed our attention once more on the complex issues surrounding athlete welfare and wellbeing, issues that the system has grappled with across a number of years."
"We have been listening carefully to the voices of athletes who have spoken out or made contact with us directly," added Cycling New Zealand chairman Phil Holden.
"The board are very clear they want to make sure that those perspectives are built into this inquiry right from the start."
Podmore, born in Christchurch, New Zealand, had been a medallist in the Junior Track World Championships and competed in the Rio Olympics as a sprinter.
She finished 23rd in the women’s sprint in Brazil, ninth in the team sprint and 25th in the Keirin.
In 2017 she became the New Zealand Keirin champion and competed for her country in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
She had also reached the qualification criteria for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but was not selected by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
“The last couple of years have been so great to reconnect on a deeper level but I am devastated that this has come to such a sudden end," said double Olympian Natasha Hansen following Podmore's death.
"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.”
Most people who are thinking of taking their own life have shown warning signs beforehand.
These can include becoming depressed, showing sudden changes in behaviour, talking about wanting to die and feelings of hopelessness. These feelings do improve and can be treated.
If you are concerned about someone, or need help yourself, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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