Olympic gold medal sportswoman, motivational speaker
Legendary Australian track cyclist Anna Meares won gold medals at both the Commonwealth and Olympic Games and has twice been the 500m time trial world champion.
Inspired by watching Kathy Watt win a gold medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, Anna began competitive cycling that same year at the age of just 11, following her older sister Kerrie into the sport. Weekend raining involved driving more than 300 km each way to the nearest cycling track in Mackay, Queensland.
From that time, Anna Meares has made a steady progression to the upper ranks of Australian cycling, gaining many accolades along the way. Her many achievements include Australian Junior Women's Track Cyclist of the Year and selection for the 2002 Commonwealth Games team for Manchester.
More about Anna Meares
In May 2004, Anna Meares became the world time trial champion at the World Titles in Melbourne, cementing her performance with gold at the World Cup in Sydney a few weeks later.
At the Athens Olympics in 2004 Anna claimed her first Olympic gold medal, setting a new world record in the process. Only minutes earlier, Yonghua Jiang from China set broke the existing record, meaning Anna had to better that new mark to get the gold. She succeeded, and also went on to claim a bronze medal in the 200m sprint final.
In 2005 Anna Meares received an OAM in the Australia Day Honours List and in 2008 she was recognised as the Australian Cyclist of the Year and the People's Choice Cyclist of the Year.
Also in 2008, Anna Meares suffered life-threatening injuries after a terrible accident in the third round of the World Cup circuit in Los Angeles. Doctors said she was two millimetres from being paralysed from the chin down. It was Anna's dream to ride in Beijing and she was back on her bike just 10 days after her fall. With hard work, discipline and determination she recovered enough to qualify a spot for Australia, going on to win a silver medal just seven months later.
Anna Meares is down to earth, friendly, impressive and incredibly driven.
Her story is one of courage and inspiration, tragedy and triumph. An inspiring speaker, she wins peoples' hearts within seconds.