New Zealand’s Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore dies suddenly aged 24

Olivia Podmore walks with her cycling gear ripped after crashing during 2016 Olympics (left) and smiles after victory during an event in New Zealand last year (right)

Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore of New Zealand has died suddenly aged 24, just hours after sharing a Instagram post about the pressures of competing.

Olivia Podmore, 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.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) confirmed her death in a statement.

“We offer our deepest condolences to family, friends and others in the NZ community who are grieving this loss,” the NZOC said.

“We are providing wellbeing support for members of her team and the wider team as we return home from Tokyo.”

Her death was confirmed hours after Podmore took to Instagram on Monday, a day after the completion of the Tokyo Games.

“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 you’re 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.   

Olivia Podmore posted this Instagram story with her mum at Christchurch Airport on Monday

Social media was flooded with heartbreaking tributes as shocked friends and family shared their favourite memories of Olivia 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.”

Who is Olivia Podmore?

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Olivia Podmore won silver in the team sprint and bronze in the time trial at the 2015 Junior World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, to qualify her for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

She represented New Zealand at Rio 2016 and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in cycling track events, including the team sprint, the keirin and the individual sprint.

Podmore competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio after picking up silver and bronze medals in the junior world championships in Astana in 2015.

Olivia Podmore 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.

Olivia Podmore did not represent New Zealand at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.In 2017, Podmore was the national New Zealand keirin champion.

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