Cyclists, coaches and fans are in shock after the death of the much-loved former track cyclist Stephen Wooldridge.

Sydney born Wooldridge won gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and claimed four world titles, all in the team pursuit discipline, during an illustrious career that concluded almost a decade ago.

Scott McGrory, a former Olympic track cyclist and friend of Wooldridge, recollects. "I have always had the upmost respect for Steve. He was one of the nicest people I have ever known, anyone who has ever met him would agree with that statement."

McGrory goes on to suggest that the single-sighted pursuit of success might be having adverse effects on our elite athletes mental health and wellbeing:

"We have always been a medal machine, to retain funding our high performance programs need to win medals. Unfortunately that machine only has forward gears; there aren't any reverse mirrors, so no one is looking back at the damage that might be being caused by elite sport to produce the next world champion.

"I do not think that was specifically the issue that led to Steve's mental health difficulties but it certainly contributed. This will be a wake-up call for all of us, a catalyst to start the conversation about how we prepare future stars for the difficult transition into the rest of their lives. Athletes are retired far longer than they are involved in elite sport, a fact we seem to have forgotten."

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