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News broke on Sunday that one of Australian cycling’s most-loved figures, Gary West, had lost his battle with Motor Neurone Disease, aged just 57.
West was head coach of Australia’s track sprint program from 2009 to 2016 and guided his riders to 22 gold medals at Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championship level in that time. Perhaps his biggest achievement as coach was guiding Anna Meares to gold in the sprint at the 2012 London Olympics, where Meares beat long-time rival Victoria Pendleton.
West was a great racer in his own right, having been part of the gold-medal-winning team pursuit squad at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. He also rode for his country at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
West stood down from his role as head coach after the Rio Olympics, having revealed in October 2016 that he was battling Motor Neurone Disease.
In the days following West’s passing, social media has been replete with tributes for a man who was loved and respected by a great many.