Just two days after the golden girl of Australian cycling Anna Meares announced her retirement, the man behind her success, her coach and close friend, Gary West, also stepped down from his job.
While, at 33, Meares had simply reached then end of a stellar professional sporting career, West’s reason for leaving his position as Cycling Australia’s head track sprint coach was far more heartbreaking.
In October 2016, West revealed he had been diagnosed with debilitating – and ultimately fatal – Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
MND covers a group of diseases in which the nerve cells controlling the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow degenerate and die.
It can strike anyone and has no known cure. There are no survivors.
After teaming up with West in 2008, Meares took out nine of her world championships, as well as a gold medal at the London Olympics 2012. She credits the former cycling champion with much of her success.
"I was a blubbering mess. He was the first person I wanted to go to because I knew of the time and the dedication and the effort that went to into the structure of that plan", Meares told 60 Minutes' Peter Stefanovic in an exclusive interview which aired on Sunday night.
At the Rio Olympics, things didn't go quite so well, but the cyclist's disappointment at winning bronze was quickly eclipsed by West's shock diagnosis soon after.