SPORT

Australian Cycling Gold Medallist Stephen Wooldridge Dies At Age 39

The Olympic cycling community has been left in mourning.

15/08/2017 7:56 PM AEST | Updated 15/08/2017 8:03 PM AEST
Vladimir Rys via Getty Images

The Australian Olympic cycling community is mourning the death of gold medallist Stephen Wooldridge on Tuesday who took his own life at the age of 39.

Wooldridge was part of the last Australian pursuit cycling team to win gold in the 4000m race back at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

While he only rode in the preliminary round of the team pursuit in that year along with Peter Dawson and sat out during the final, an IOC ruling meant that he was awarded gold for his participation after teammates Graeme Brown, Brad McGee, Brett Lancaster and Luke Roberts beat Great Britain to take out the top spot.

In a statement Cycling Australia said the Olympian "will be remembered as one of the sport's most successful ever team pursuit racers".

"Cycling Australia and the cycling community are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Stephen Wooldridge OAM, Olympic gold medallist (Athens 2004), world champion and former Cycling Australia Board member," the statement said.

"Along with team mates Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster, Bradley McGee, Luke Roberts and Peter Dawson, Wooldridge was part of the team that won the 4000m team pursuit in Athens, defeating Great Britain by over 3.5 seconds.

"The team broke a drought in the event, taking Australia's first gold medal since Los Angeles 1984."

Wooldridge also won four world titles in the 4000m event in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006 and has been remembered as a "humble, respectful and endearing person".

"Stephen was an exceptional cyclist and Olympic Champion who will forever be remembered," said AOC President John Coates.

"He was always very giving of his time to the Olympic movement, helping out with fundraising efforts whenever he could for the Australian Olympic Team over the years.

"Our deepest condolences are with his family, friends and all of those impacted by Stephen's passing."

Phill Bates, the President of the St George Cycling Club -- which is where Wooldridge began his career in the sport at age 12 -- also remembered the Olympian as "an infectious character who always gave back".

"Despite all his international success he rarely missed club functions and presentations, and always made himself available for a range of roles that helped promote the sport," he said.

"He was everyone's brother; an infectious character who always gave back to cycling, and I think of him as one as one of the great champions of St George Cycling Club."

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