Covid-19 has opened and closed doors for Pip Sutton.
The former elite cyclist has replaced Mitch McRae as the new Sport Waitaki co-ordinator. She started in the role last week.
For the past five years, Miss Sutton, who is from Waikato, had been working for Youthtown Waikato in the New Zealand summer, and then travelling to the United States to compete in the USA Crits cycling series with races around the centres of several cities.
When Covid-19 made travel to the United States difficult, she decided to look at other options was the role at Sport Waitaki.
“Sport is what I know,” Miss Sutton said.
“I don’t know anyone here, but I’m in a position now to try new things.”
Miss Sutton played as many sports as possible growing up, before getting serious about cycling while studying at the University of Waikato.
In 2014 she was selected for the New Zealand track cycling squad, and was a non-travelling reserve for the 2016 Rio Olympics – ”the worst position you can be in”, she said.
“After that, I decided to leave,” she said.
“There is a lot of politics in high-performance sport.
“I got the opportunity to go to America, which was epic. They get in behind the races – the entire town could stop and watch them.”
She was looking forward to getting involved in sport in the Waitaki community.
“I see the role as being at hand for anything, and finding the networks that are down here,” she said.
“Giving support to clubs and groups, anything involving sport and recreation.
“It’s all about making clubs sustainable – they are all run by volunteers.”
While her background is in high-performance sport, Miss Sutton recognised the importance of everyone being active.
“It doesn’t have to be structured, but you need to get that blood pumping.
“I’m here to help with that.”