Concerns elite athletes aren't being listened to as NZ's sport system comes under fire after Olivia Podmore death

Concerns are being raised that athletes' voices aren't being listened to at the highest level.

The high performance system has come under fire after the tragic death of Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore last week, with claims there's an imbalance of power between management, coaches and the athletes themselves.

Triple Olympic gold medallist Hamish Bond sees the benefits of an athletes' commission and strengthening high performance programmes.

"There's been far more awareness around that space in the last few years," Bond tells Newshub. "But nothing's perfect and not only rowing, but other sports can improve more."

Unlike sports such as rugby, cricket and netball, Olympic sports don't have their own individual athlete associations.

Former Olympic skeleton racer Ben Sandford - who is part of the athletes' committees with the World Anti Doping Agency and New Zealand Olympic Committee - wants immediate change to what he calls a "power imbalance".

"It's not even a seat around the table, it's just about balance," he tells Newshub. "Athletes have nowhere to go, they have no say, they can't affect change, they can't get representation in the system. 

"There's plenty of bad situations in New Zealand - some really recent - that are absolutely heartbreaking, but we must do more. 

"We have to continue trying to make the system better and it's not good enough at the moment."

Sandford questions whether he thought his voice is being heard across his various roles on groups and commissions.

"Some organisations are fantastic and really understand the value of athlete voice - others I've dealt with are exceptionally difficult."

The goal is to protect future generations, who one day hope to win their own gold medals.