A "disillusioned" Ben Fouhy has vented frustration over his dealings with sport bureaucrats after finishing his Olympic career.
The Athens 2004 silver medallist, whose successful career ended with a disappointing sixth-place in the London 2012 K1 1000m semifinal, reflected on a sporting life dogged by administration and political battles.
Fouhy, a former world champion and record holder, vented a stockpile of criticism aimed at Sport New Zealand, the Crown body formerly known as Sparc, claiming his career had been undermined.
Two years ago, Minister of Sport Murray McCully intervened in a scrap which almost saw Fouhy walk away from the sport for good.
The 2004 world champion quit in March 2010, blaming a breakdown in his relationship with national coach Ian Ferguson.
But he reversed his decision after he was allowed to operate outside of Canoe Racing New Zealand's high performance system, thanks to McCully.
"It stings a little bit to finish your career like that," Fouhy said.
"I'm disillusioned. I'm f...ing disgusted at Sparc. I don't mind them making decisions I don't like. But at least have the f...ing courtesy to get on the phone and tell me, or meet to my face.
"I've had a world record for five years and been a world champion, there's a lot of detractors out there that like to kick you when you're down.
"That's New Zealand for you, isn't it? They like to kick you when you're down.
"There's athletes out there busting their guts. We don't want to be wrapped in cotton wool, we just want to say we can believe in what we're doing.
Fouhy said the political issues have taken the edge off an otherwise successful career in canoeing.
But success has come with other costs, with Fouhy revealing he's struggled to pay his mortgage in the lead-in to the London Olympics.
"It stings. I've tried to do my best and be as honest as I can. People don't like that, but they don't seem to mind it when you're winning," he said.
"When you win the world title by a boat length at your first attempt, you set high standards,"
"I won the world title and I spent $20,000, all my savings, and I was ten grand in debt. We did it off the smell of an oily rag.
"When the chips are down and you're not winning, all of a sudden you're a moaner. Well, I'm a moaner that's been training six days a week, three times a day off $25,000 a year.
"I've had no money to pay my mortgage for the last year.
"It's not about that, it's about the trust and the people you have to work with. Being able to believe in them and trust them."
Fouhy said he is yet to fully consider his post-racing options, but could potentially turn to Ironman in the short term.
"I'm going to take some time out, clear my head, and figure out what I'm going to do.
"I love training, it's in my blood, I've been doing it for 20 years, I might do a couple of Ironman's or something."
- © Fairfax NZ News