Olivia Podmore, a professional cyclist from New Zealand died on August 9 according to reports. The New Zealand Olympic Committee said, “She left us a message.” The cause of her death is not revealed.
Before her demise, she had posted a message on social media about the pressures of elite competition and social expectations. The post is now unavailable. Olympic rowing gold medalist Eric Murray said that “We’re seeing locally and around the world the implications of mental health in sport.”
He further said, “We’ve lost a sister, a friend, and a fighter who lost that will of fight inside of her.”
Murray has been one of the high-profile athletes at the Olympics and has recently acknowledged the importance of mental health in sports. Jacques Landry, the head of Cycling New Zealand, was asked whether they did enough to support Podmore. Answering this he said that the sport would keep “questioning this for a long time”.
Podmore’s death came in less than 24 hours of the Olympics closing ceremony. COVID-19 response minister of New Zealand said that athletes would need to apply for dispensation if they wanted to attend Podmore’s funeral. He also added that they would not be given preferential treatment.
Who was Olivia Podmore?
- Olivia Podmore was a professional racer cyclist. She participated in the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
- She has a silver to her name in the team sprint and bronze in the time trial at the Junior Track World Championships.
- Podmore had reached the Olympics qualification late and hence wasn’t selected by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
- The cyclist was only 24 when she passed away at her residence in Cambridge. No details about the cause of her death have been revealed yet.
Mental health in sports is in the talk since the Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open. Osaka also skipped Wimbledon for the same reason. More and more athletes are coming forward and addressing the topic now.