Australia’s most decorated cyclist decides to call time on an illustrious career that includes six Olympic medals
Australian cyclist Anna Meares OAM has announced her retirement from the sport after a stunning career, which included six Olympic medals. The news ends speculation that the 33-year-old would carry on until her home 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, where the velodrome will be named after her. Ahead of Rio 2016, she needed six cortisone injections in her spine to make the Olympic team.
Meares’ six Olympic medals from four Games included two golds, as she became the most decorated Australian cyclist during a 15-year career. She was also the only Australian athlete to medal at four consecutive Games in individual events. Twelve years ago in Athens she claimed her first gold in the women’s 500 metres time trial, before doubling her tally at London 2012 when she won the women’s cycling sprint event. She also won a sprint silver in Beijing in 2008, just seven months after breaking her neck, and a bronze in the same event at Athens 2004.
Meares was also part of the Australian team which claimed team sprint bronze at London 2012 before she completed her Olympic medal haul in Rio de Janerio in August when she won bronze in the women’s keirin. She also boasts 26 International Cycling Union (UCI) Track Cycling World Championship medals, including 11 golds.
Meares announced herself to the world as an 18-year-old with sprint bronze at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. She went on to compete at four editions of the event, winning five golds, two silvers and a bronze overall.
“Cycling Australia and the sport of cycling in Australia have given me so much and I am so profoundly proud of being a cyclist and a member of the Cycling Australia team,” said Meares, whose main rivals include Britain’s double Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton.
“I am really proud of my longevity, also proud of the level of high consistency in my performances and results during my career. It is hard to close this chapter, because it is a big one, but I am really excited about the doors opening to the next chapter of my life. I know that I have left the sport better than when I came into it, which I am really proud of.”
A special tribute celebrating Meares’ career will feature at the Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards on November 18 in Melbourne.