Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore has died suddenly aged 24, just hours after sharing a chilling Instagram post about the pressures of competing.
The New Zealand athlete, who competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, also shared a grinning selfie at an airport just hours before her family confirmed her tragic death.
‘Rest in peace to my gorgeous sister and loved daughter of Phil Podmore. You will be in our hearts forever,’ her brother Mitchell shared.
New Zealand ‘s cycling community has been rocked by the sudden death of 2016 Olympian Olivia Podmore
Her death was confirmed hours after Podmore outlined the pressures of competing at the highest level in a chilling final Instagram post on Monday.
‘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.’
The post has since been deleted.
Social media has been flooded with heartbreaking tributes as shocked friends and family shared their favourite memories of Podmore.
‘You will be missed so freaking much,’ one woman posted.
You would always light up the room with your smile. You accomplished so much and we are all so proud of you. I will always cherish the memories I had with you. RIP and fly high.’
Her family confirmed the cyclist’s shock death on Monday via social media
Olivia Podmore posted this Instagram story at Christchurch Airport on Monday
Another shattered friend added: ‘ She was always up for mischievous fun. Please know you were loved by so many people Liv and you will be missed just as much by so many people. Your achievements in life have been incredible. You should be incredibly proud of everything you have achieved.’
The news of her death came as some members of the New Zealand cycling team were about to leave Tokyo following the Olympics
The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) and Cycling New Zealand have expressed their condolences to Podmore’s family.
‘We offer our deepest condolences to family, friends and others in the NZ community who are grieving this loss,’ the NZOC said in a statement.
‘We are providing wellbeing support for members of her team and the wider team as we return home from Tokyo.
‘Olivia represented New Zealand with honour and pride at both the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. She was a valued team member and her loss will be felt across the New Zealand sporting community.’
The news of her death came as some members of the New Zealand cycling team were about to leave Tokyo after the conclusion of the Olympics 2021
Dual Olympian Natalie Hansen led tributes from the cycling community.
‘You have broken so many hearts today,’ she posted on Facebook.
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.’
Her death was confirmed hours after Podmore outlined the pressures of competing at the highest level in a chilling final Instagram post, which was later deleted
Podmore competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio after picking up silver and bronze medals in the junior world champs in Astana in 2015.
She won the national keirin champion title in 2017.
She also competed at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in sprint, team sprint and keirin events.
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