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- New Zealand cyclist (1997-2021)
The grieving brother of New Zealand Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore - who tragically died aged 24 this week - has exposed a disgusting online scam that tried to profit from her death.
Podmore, who rode for New Zealand at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, died suddenly on Monday in news that rocked the nation and the sport.
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A New Zealand police spokesman said police attended a sudden death at a property in Waikato on New Zealand's upper North Island on Monday afternoon.
Podmore's cause of death was not confirmed, but a friend raised concerns about her mental health and the cyclist had reached out to support services offered to athletes.
In a disgraceful response to her tragic death, online scammers set up a fake fundraising page with the promise of donating money for Podmore's family.
The page - said to be created by “Team Podmore” and titled “Help Olivia Podmore” - was exposed by her brother Mitchell.
He took screenshots of the fundraising page, along with a message condemning those responsible and a warning to people not to donate to it.
“I hope this is not what I’m seeing, the Podmores have not started a gogetfunding or ‘give a little’ page,” his post read.
“Do not react to this,” he added, with a broken heart emoji.
The post drew numerous responses from supporters who were left equally disgusted that someone would try and profit off the tragedy.
“So sorry that some disgusting human would try taking advantage of everything you are going through!” one comment read.
In the screenshot shared by Mitchell, the fake fundraising page had a target of $50,000 but it was quickly taken down by administrators.
Family spokesperson Mike Pero revealed that the only official fundraising for Olivia's death was taking place was through the Mike Pero Group.
The incident comes after more details were revealed about the days before Podmore's tragic death.
Former Olympic rowing champion Eric Murray said he was with Podmore on Monday and described her death as a "shock and a tragedy."
Friend Eric Murray rocked by Olivia Podmore's death
"I wish she had said something," the 39-year-old told reporters in Cambridge, a high performance hub in New Zealand for cycling and other sports.
"We have lost a sister, a friend and a fighter who lost that will of fight inside of her.
“I was the last person to see her alive. If you had seen her in the last 72 hours, you wouldn't have thought this could happen.
"That's why there's so much talk about mental health at the moment."
Murray reportedly spent the weekend with Podmore snowboarding in Queenstown.
He made mention of Podmore's final social media post in which she detailed the pressures of being an elite athlete, before deleting it.
“With Olivia’s final words she left us a message - a message we wish will never have to be read again by anybody else,” he said.
Sport NZ CEO Raelene Castle revealed Podmore had reached out for support before her death.
Castle said support for athletes in programs was not perfect.
"Her legacy has to be that we make improvements," she told reporters.
Cycling NZ chief executive Jacques Landry said the organisation would be “questioning ... for a long time” if it had failed Podmore, saying her death was a “tremendous loss”.
"Right now for us it's about focusing on the wellbeing of the people who are here and having to deal with this loss," he told a media conference.
"There will be a time for us actually to review and look at if and where we would have had missteps or where we didn't act properly."
The New Zealand Olympic Committee said news of Podmore's death had reached the national cycling team just minutes before they were due to fly home from Tokyo.
"We are providing wellbeing support for members of her team and the wider team as we return home from Tokyo," NZOC said in a statement.
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