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The New Zealand sporting community is mourning the tragic death of 24-year-old cyclist Olivia Podmore, who represented her country at the 2016 Olympics.
Podmore's family confirmed the shocking news on social media on Monday night.
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“Rest in peace to my gorgeous sister and loved daughter of Phil Podmore," wrote brother Mitchell.
"You will be in our hearts forever.’’
Waikato police told Stuff.co.nz that they attended a sudden death at a property in Cambridge on New Zealand's north island early on Monday evening.
The devastating tragedy has left New Zealand's cycling team shattered as they prepare to leave the Tokyo Olympics, which concluded on Sunday.
"Cycling New Zealand, our 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," Cycling New Zealand said in a statement.
"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: “We offer our deepest condolences to family, friends and others in the NZ community who are grieving this loss.
”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.”
Aussie cycling champion Anna Meares was among the many to express their shock.
"My heart breaks for the loss of a young life. Sorry you were in pain," Meares tweeted.
"Please reach out if you feel alone, are hurting, feel lost or helpless."
British great Chris Hoy tweeted: "Awful to hear this news."
Awful to hear this news.
— Chris Hoy (@chrishoy) August 9, 2021
I didn’t know you Olivia but I saw you race many times. This is really Tragic news, thoughts are with you and those close to you 💔💔💔 https://t.co/yddjvT4ofk
— nick owen (@nickowen5) August 9, 2021
Absolutely heartbreaking. A young woman who had everything to live for. https://t.co/4nCL4XRyQ2
— Chris Lynch (@chrislynchmedia) August 9, 2021
— Wayne Burrows (@WayneJBurrows) August 9, 2021
Heartbroken 💔 this is devastating news. 😢
— AndyPropel0 (@APropel0) August 9, 2021
What terrible news😞 Thoughts with family and friends.
— Wayne Jones (@wayno265) August 9, 2021
Such sad news, my thoughts go out to her friends and family.
— Oatesy💙 (@GregOates1) August 9, 2021
Utterly heart breaking. Reach out to your mates, lend an ear, be there. No-one should be this alone. https://t.co/LelraTVVek
— D’Arcy (@DArcyWaldegrave) August 9, 2021
Olivia Podmore's devastating final post
Podmore had reportedly posted on Instagram earlier on Monday outlining the pressures of competing at the highest level of her sport.
“Sport is an amazing outlet for so many people, it’s a struggle, it’s a fight but it’s so joyous," she wrote before deleting the post.
“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 your trying to give everything to your sport is also unlike any other.”
Podmore represented New Zealand at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and rode at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships the same year.
She won New Zealand's national keirin title in 2017 and competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
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