Anna Meares OAM
Olympic Gold Medal Sportswoman & Motivational Speaker
Anna Meares OAM is considered by many to be the greatest Australian cyclist of all time and made Olympic history in Rio in 2016 by being the first and only Australian athlete from any sport to have ever won individual medals at 4 consecutive Olympic Games.
During her 15 year career as an elite athlete Anna Meares collected 18 gold medals, 16 silver medals and 10 bronze medals at Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games level. Anna was named Australia’s flag bearer and team captain at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
After growing up in the small Queensland mining town of Middlemount, Anna started cycling competitively, aged just 11, with the nearest cycling track around 300kms away in Mackay.
After a successful first Olympic campaign in Athens 2004, her training was in full swing when in January 2008, Anna broke her back at the Los Angeles World Cup. She was thrown from her bike in a collision with other riders and sustained a hairline fracture to her C2 vertebrae. The accident immediately threw her plans for the Beijing Olympics in August into doubt, and it was possible she may never ride again.
Only seven months later at the Beijing Olympics, with the goodwill of Australia behind her, she won the silver medal in the Women’s Individual Sprint, the only Olympic medal won by any Australian Cyclist in any cycling discipline.
London 2012 would showcase how strategy and execution prowess combined with the ability to perform under pressure against her rival Victoria Pendleton culminating in success. Her second Olympic Gold.
Rio 2016 would see Anna win her final Olympic medal, a bronze in the keirin, her 6th career Olympic medal. After 22 years involved in the sport, 15 years of those representing Australia at the elite senior level, she retired the most decorated female athlete in the world with 11 world titles.
In 2018, Anna was inducted into the SA and QLD Sport Halls of Fame for sporting achievements and in 2021 she was awarded “legend” status in the SA Sport Hall of Fame 2021, the youngest ever to achieve this and was inducted into Sport Australia Hall of Fame 2021.
In retirement from sport Anna pursued many passions and interests including foster care, charitable endeavours and will be strongly present in the team for Australia in 2022 as the General Manger for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
She also joined the channel 7 expert commentary team for the Tokyo Olympics 2020/1, a position she has also filled for the Santos Tour Down Under since 2017.
Anna has been appointed Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
More about Anna Meares:
In May 2004, Anna 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 broke the existing record, meaning Anna had to better that new mark to get the gold. She succeeded, and went on to claim a bronze medal in the 200m sprint final.
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, then went on to win a silver medal just seven months later in the Women’s Individual Sprint, at that time, the only Olympic medal won by any Australian Cyclist in any cycling discipline.
Anna shifted her focus to the 2012 London Olympics, where she won gold in the sprint in against long term rival Victoria Pendleton of Great Britain. She also won a bronze medal won in the team sprint.
Anna’s achievements were acknowledged with an OAM in the Australia Day Honours List in 2005 and in 2008 she was recognised as the Australian Cyclist of the Year and the People’s Choice Cyclist of the Year.