18 Dec 2015

Hewitt will compete in Rio despite loss

2:16 pm on 18 December 2015

Six weeks after the sudden death of her fiancee and coach, leading New Zealand triathlete Andrea Hewitt has confirmed she'll still compete at next year's Rio Olympics.

Laurent Vidal, who competed for France in the 2012 Olympics died of a heart attack in his sleep in France last month.

In October Hewitt was the first athlete officially selected for the New Zealand team to compete in Rio.

New Zealand triathlete Andrea Hewitt 4th at Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

New Zealand triathlete Andrea Hewitt 4th at Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hewitt still wants to compete in Rio, Triathlon New Zealand high performance programme head Graeme Maw said.

The priority continued to be Hewitt's welfare and making sure there was no pressure on her to make any long term decisions about her racing programme, Maw said.

"Andrea has indicated a clear desire to continue on to Rio and to represent New Zealand on the Olympic stage for a third time."

"Through a difficult time, Andrea has never wavered from that desire but clearly needed and still needs time to think through the steps towards Rio, but she has asked us to convey that decision, that she will race in Rio," he said.

Andrea Hewitt and Laurent Vidal.

Andrea Hewitt and her late fiancee and coach Laurent Vidal. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"No other decisions are being made at this time in regards her support staff. For now we will continue to stay in dialogue with Andrea and those close to her, while respecting her ongoing request for privacy as she returns home to New Zealand to spend Christmas with her family and loved ones."

A decision on a new coach is likely to be made in the New Year, Maw said.

"Andrea will speak in her own time but has asked that Tri NZ passes on her thanks for the support and messages received over the past few weeks, messages that were heartfelt and warmly received by both Andrea and Laurent's family in France," Maw said.

"For now Andrea must be left to return home and spend the holiday season with her family and friends and go about putting together her Rio campaign without intrusion or speculation," he said.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.