Joseph Sullivan's plans to win a second gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games have been shattered.
Sullivan has been left out of the Rowing New Zealand squad to attend the world championship and world cup regattas this year - his second successive dumping after he won gold in the men's double sculls in partnership with now-retired Nathan Cohen at the 2012 Olympics.
The 26-year-old told Fairfax Media he now needed some time to gather his thoughts on his omission.
"I had a feeling it was coming, but I was hoping it wasn't," said Sullivan, who missed out on the initial New Zealand squad last year after an extended break following his London success.
Sullivan did earn a recall in the men's single scull with Mahe Drysdale on sabbatical, but was nowhere near his form of previous years - which also saw him and Cohen win gold at the 2010 and 2011 world champs - and made himself unavailable for the 2013 world championships in South Korea.
Sullivan was in the Rowing NZ summer training squad and was part of the Central RPC quad that won gold at the recent national champs.
However, Rowing NZ high performance manager Alan Cotter said Sullivan's form simply didn't measure up to his best.
"I thought I had a good chance, but obviously not," Sullivan said. "I might have to leave it at that before I say something I regret."
Cotter said Sullivan has had "every opportunity with what we do here, being in the squad and having support behind him.
"All we can do is give him an opportunity, which we have done."
A second blow for a struggling Sullivan may spell the end of his career - despite Cotter saying there was still an opportunity for him.
"The door's still open and we'll support him if he wants to come back and give it a good go. At the end of the day it needs to come from Joe, if he wants to be there," Cotter said.
- The Marlborough Express