BikeNZ BMX national coach Ken Cools has resigned to take up a new role back in his native Canada.
Cools has accepted the position as Canada’s first National Coach and Performance Director for BMX, based near Vancouver.
While he enjoyed the job in New Zealand, the lure to return home to be closer to his family and the challenges of the new role were the deciding factors.
Cools, a well-known and highly respected former pro rider and coach, initially came to New Zealand as a late replacement for Grant White, who took up a position with Great Britain in the lead-up to Beijing in 2008 where the sport made its Olympic debut.
He was consequently reappointed for a four year term, charged with developing a high performance programme from scratch and guiding the elite riders to the London Olympics where Sarah Walker won a silver medal.
"Ken has made a significant input into the development of the sport in this country," said BikeNZ High Performance Director, Mark Elliott. "He had the immense task of developing an elite Olympic performance programme from basically a family-based participation sport.
"While we have Sarah, Marc Willers and Kurt Pickard in the top echelon of the sport, we also now have a group of young riders ready to make the step up into the elite ranks.
"Part of the challenge has been to change the attitudes and culture within the sport while continuing to nurture the family involvement which is so fundamental to the success of BMX.
"We are sad to see Ken moving on but at the same time we recognise the tremendous opportunity for him and we look forward to remaining closely involved with him through the Canadian programme.
"We are currently completing our post-Olympic review process and that will help us determine our pathway forward in terms of staffing our high performance BMX programme for our objectives in Rio."