Podmore report: Family hope Olivia's death won’t be in vain

Source: 1News

Olivia Podmore's family are hopeful that the latest report into Cycling New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand will see changes made within the organisations so her death won't be in vain.

Olivia Podmore.

Podmore, an Olympic cycling representative for New Zealand, died suddenly last August aged just 24, prompting an independent inquiry into the high-performance system.

Since her death, Cycling NZ's chief executive, high performance director and sprint head coach have all moved on, among others.

READ MORE: Olympic champs say performance culture must change after Podmore's death

Nine months on, Podmore's mother Nienke and husband Chris Middleton say they still miss her humour, laughter and her life.

Nienke said she believed the Bordeaux incident in 2016, where the sprint head coach had a sexual relationship with an athlete, had a significant impact on Olivia.

Nienke described the relationship as being "condoned".

Nienke and Chris said while they didn't want to be sceptical of the new report, the whole truth needed to be uncovered if changes were to be made.

Despite the loss of her daughter, Nienke said if she had the chance again she would still send Olivia to the high performance programme in Cambridge, but she would be more involved.

"I didn't want to come across as the supervising parent, that's why I didn't have any involvement, and also because Livvy was so confident, happy and capable. But if it was her, absolutely a lot more involvement and more contact.

"I would like to hope that [things] will get better. To honour Livvy and so that her death is not in vain, I would like to hope that they would get better."

Both Nienke and Chris believed Cycling NZ have the intention "to do the right thing" and "make a lot of obviously-needed changes".

Where to get help.

In positive news, they have heard things are getting better inside the high performance environment.

"We spoke with an athlete today who says their new coach is so great. It leaves me so sad Livvy doesn't have that. All the things he's doing exactly what Livvy would have loved, one step forward, one step back," Nienke said.

In the past nine months other stories have emerged of ill treatment and mental health issues for cyclists. Olivia's family just want to save anyone else the pain.

They'll spend the weekend fully digesting the report, which is set to be released to the public on Monday.