The previous Swimwatch post copied extracts from many emails sent by double Olympic Gold Medalist Alan Thompson to Hon Grant Robertson. Apart from the normal ministerial courtesy reply – you know, the one that says, thank you, the Minister is very busy – the only informative correspondence back was a letter from Grant Robertson dated 27 June 2021.

Grant Robertson also met with Alan Thompson during the period covered by the correspondence.

Reading the letter, I am left with an impression of stunning naivety. Right or wrong, Grant Robertson believes his subordinates. His loyalty may be admirable but in the current state of New Zealand sports administration his trust is misplaced and dangerous.

Olivia Podmore paid the price for Grant Robertson’s trust with her life. I paid the price for Grant Robertson’s trust with my health. But back to his letter.   

Paragraph three says this:

I am confident that the allegations have been taken seriously by CRNZ and have been thoroughly investigated.  

Alan Thompson’s allegations were never taken seriously by CRNZ. All CRNZ did was whitewash the issues until sufficient time passed for them to initiate Alan Thompson’s expulsion from the organisation. The saga was, and is, a vendetta. Getting rid of Alan Thompson solved their problem. They could tell SNZ and HPSNZ that Alan Thompson’s allegations were fabrications. In fact, they could, and they did, tell their bosses Thompson was the abuser. SNZ and HPSNZ would pass that on to Grant Robertson. Problem solved. Thompson would be back in Gisborne, shopping on Gladstone Rd where he belonged. He would never disrupt their well paid and sordid lives again.

If CRNZ, SNZ and HPSNZ – otherwise known as a sporting freak show – get away with the expulsion of Thompson it will only make their self-important toxic swamp worse. They need control – not to be given free rein to run around beating up high profile and honest athletes. The arrogance of SNZ and HPSNZ is not restricted to its influence on CRNZ. As we have seen Cycling and, when Bruce Cotterill was around, Swimming were infected just the same. SNZ and HPSNZ are the source of the problem. As night follows day, the parents have the disease and pass it on to their children.      

Grant Robertson needs to wake-up. His confidence in bad people caused the death of Olivia Podmore. It resulted in me having to attend North Shore Hospital for five hours three times every week. He needs to be confident no more. Alan Thompson was right. Put the carrot away. It is time to take out the stick. And Raelene Castle should be Robertson’s first victim.

In paragraph four, Grant Robertson says:

CRNZ has appropriate systems and processes in place to run its programs as effectively as possible and keep improving over time. CRNZ has accepted the results and is committed to implementing all recommendations made.

That is also SNZ and HPSNZ spin. Remember Cycling New Zealand and Swimming New Zealand saying the same thing about their investigations. And then cycling started cheating at the Olympic Games. And Olivia Podmore died. I doubt that Grant Robertson’s assurance is much comfort to Olivia Podmore’s mother. It certainly did not relieve Olivia’s pain or cure my health. SNZ and HPSNZ lie like flat fish. When those with real power believe the lies and write rubbish like this, they cause cheating, illness and death.

And in his final paragraph Grant Robertson says this:

The independent Sport and Recreation Complaints and Mediation Service (SRCMS) was launched in February this year.     

This is Grant Robertson’s attempt to convince Alan Thompson that a new initiative has been launched to solve abuse problems. I guess Grant Robertson does not need to be told it hasn’t worked. Forty-two days after he wrote this letter Olivia Podmore was dead – in the face of the corruption, the training abuse and the hush money payments Grant Robertson’s new initiative did not do Olivia any good. The same applies to the seven women who abandoned the CRNZ program. If they had not left, how many of them would be experiencing Olivia’s struggles? Ask them, they don’t believe a word that comes out of the freak show. And the same applies to me. In the face of it all my health gave way.  

From what I have seen on TV, I like Grant Robertson. He seems honest, sharp and has a good sense of humor. Altogether a good and decent person. However bad people are taking advantage of his good nature. He is being screwed. The problem is when Raelene Castle’s organisation screws someone like Grant Robertson all of us are twisted out of shape. Olivia Podmore’s death is one death too many. But with letters like this, I promise you, Olivia will not be the last.

PS – Olivia Podmore is the second association Cycling High Performance Director, Martin Barras, has had with the death of an elite cyclist. An Australian World Champion male cyclist committed suicide when Barras worked for Cycling Australia. Grant Robertson must see the need to investigate the SNZ and HPSNZ culture that allows these individuals to be employed and to prosper. I am convinced Olivia Podmore did not commit suicide. She was murdered just as surely as if Cycling New Zealand had attacked her with a loaded gun. Robertson needs to prevent the same thing happening in CRNZ by closing down the effort to expel Alan Thompson.

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