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Four-time Australian Olympic cycling medallist Gary Neiwand has pleaded guilty to harassing a former partner, marking yet another harassment conviction since his retirement from professional sport after he was jailed in 2006.
Neiwand, who appeared in the Broadmeadows Magistrates Court on Tuesday, pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to harass after bombarding his ex-girlfriend with dozens of calls, emails and messages over three days in July last year.
The track cyclist won silver medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. He also won bronze medals for the team sprint at the Sydney Games and for the sprint at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
But he fell from grace in the mid-2000s after spending nine months in prison for breaching an intervention order and later stalking a former partner.
Gary Neiwand in 2008.Credit: Angela Wylie
In 2012, he was sentenced to a suspended four-month jail term for exposing himself to two women in Melbourne.
On Tuesday, the 56-year-old also faced a stalking charge, but it was dropped.
His ex-partner, speaking to Nine News on the condition of anonymity, said she met Neiwand on a dating site before he harassed her with a barrage of “relentless” messages from July 9 to 11 last year.
“It was three days of hell,” she said.
“It’s not fair. I knew he had a past. But I thought he’s a changed man, and it wouldn’t happen to me.”
Neiwand’s defence told the court he tried to contact his ex-girlfriend after she broke up with him because he was worried about her mental health.
The court also heard Neiwand lives with his parents, has a good relationship with his two adult children and has been working at a bicycle store in Footscray for the past 12 years, where he is well-regarded by his boss.
He will be sentenced in September.
Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).
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