Five Magical Moments: Anna Meares
17 October 2016
There is not much that Anna Meares didn’t accomplish in her exceptional career.
The 5’5” dynamo from Blackwater, Queensland won six Olympic medals, 11 World Championship titles, five Commonwealth Games gold medals and finished on the podium at countless World Cups and National Championships.
With news of her retirement we take a look at five of the queen of Australian track cycling’s defining moments:
Athens 2004 – 500m Time Trial Gold
Just months after claiming her first World Championship title, Anna Meares headed to her debut Olympic Games in Athens as the rider to beat in the 500m time trial. Lining up against the current world record holder Jiang Yonghua of China, Meares became the first woman to break the 34-second mark to set a new world record and become the first Australian woman to become Olympic Champion on the track. She would go on to also claim bronze in the individual sprint.
Beijing 2008 – Sprint Silver
Meares will go down in Australian Olympic history as not only one of our most successful athletes but also one of the most determined and resilient. Preparing for her second Games appearance, Meares broke her neck in a race crash in Los Angeles just seven months out from the Beijing 2008 Games. She arrived home in a neck brace and wheelchair but nothing was going to stop Meares from taking on the world in Beijing. She steadily progressed day-by-day, eventually proving her fitness for another shot at Olympic glory. Meares would make the final of individual sprint before great rival, and friend, Victoria Pendleton of Great Britain beat her in the race for gold as Meares went home with silver.
London 2012 – Sprint Gold
Meares headed to her third Games with no better chance of climbing back to the top of the Olympic podium. Since Beijing she claimed eight World Championship titles to go with three Commonwealth Games gold medals as she hit the peak of her esteemed career. It was never going to be easy though. She knew if she was going to claim gold she was going to have to take down Pendleton in her own backyard.
The Aussie champion progressed through to the gold medal race where the dream final was set up – Pendleton vs Meares. Despite crossing the line second by the narrowest of margins in the opening race of the final, Meares was awarded the win after Pendleton was deemed to move out on her Australian rival in the final straight which led to her disqualification. Meares rode the second race to perfection letting Pendleton take the lead before eventually wearing her down to take the victory and win her second Olympic gold medal.
Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony Flagbearer
Few could deny that Meares was the perfect selection to carry the Australian flag as the world watched on at the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony. Year after year, competition after competition, Meares gave everything she had in the green and gold and the chance to lead the Australian Team out was just reward for one of the nation’s finest. Meares’ pride for her country was summed up on her announcement: “Of all of things I have achieved and I have done, carrying the flag for Australia is the greatest honour."
Rio 2016 – Keirin Bronze
Her sixth, and final, Olympic medal came in Rio. Having just missed out in the team sprint with Stephanie Morton as the duo finished fourth, Meares made it through to the final of the Keirin. The Australian legend pulled three-wide around the corner, moved into second before claiming the bronze medal. The result secured Meares another slice of history becoming the first Australian to win an Olympic medal in four different Olympic Games.