Tributes flow for Australian Olympic gold medal winning cycling Dean Woods, dead at 55

Tributes are flowing for Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Dean Woods OAM, who has died at the age of 55 after a battle with cancer.

Woods, from Wangaratta in Victoria’s northeast, was part of the four-man 4000m team pursuit team with Michael Grenda, Kevin Nichols and Michael Turtur that upset hosts USA for gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

He then took three more medals across his career, including silver in the individual pursuit and bronze in the team pursuit at Seoul 1988, plus bronze at Atlanta 1996.

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Woods also won three Commonwealth Games gold medals, was a three-time world champion and competed twice at the Tour of Spain (Vuelta a Espana), while winning 20 national titles.

“Together with coach Charlie Walsh, he took the understanding of elite training to a new level,” Sport Australia Hall of Fame chair John Bertrand AO said.

“In his era, there was no ‘play book’, little financial support. All had to be developed.

“Dean was passionate about the future of cycling in Australia. He developed a successful cycling components import business. He kept close to the development of the sport, to elite performance on the world stage.

“On behalf of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, we extend our thoughts to his wife Megan, daughters, Charlie and his teammates and indeed the entire cycling community.”

Retired Herald Sun sports columnist Ron Reed tweeted: “Vale Dean Woods, Olympic gold medallist track cyclist LA 84 and one of that sport’s most impressive people. Only 55. “Campaigned right to the end for cycling to lift its game after poor Tokyo Olympics.”

RIDE Media’s Rob Arnold added: “In 1984 four Aussies won an Olympic gold medal. One of them was still a junior.

“The team pursuit in LA inspired me to follow cycling.

“Dean Woods was a young man then. He made a big impression on me.

“He is no longer with us, but many legacies remain.

“RIP Dean Woods.”