Anna Meares is considered by many to be the greatest cyclist of all time. Anna has collected 18 gold medals, 16 silver medals and 9 bronze medals at Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games level. In February 2015 Anna won her 11th world title adding to her 2004 and 2012 Olympic Golds which now place her in elite sporting company. She is a great and gracious winner.
Anna's inspirational keynote tells of her life, the hard work, the goal setting, challenges, trial and tribulations of the effort required to be a winner.
Anna's interest in cycling was sparked following her sister Kerrie's involvement in BMX. Aged 11, Anna joined her brother and sisters, travelling from their home in Middlemount, QLD to State and National Competitions, winning trophies all over Australia.
At the 2004 Olympic debut in Athens, Anna Meares set a new world record to win gold in the women's 500 metre time trial – the first Australian woman to win Olympic track cycling gold. She also won the bronze medal in the sprint event there.
A two-time world champion in the 500 metre time trial, first accomplished in 2004 and again in 2007. The team has had to deal with some very different challenges leading up to Beijing, when Anna suffered horrific injuries from a cycling crash - she had broken her neck, narrowly avoiding disaster 'two millimetres, more and she would have been a quadriplegic.
She had a fractured vertebrae near the base of the skull and there was the acute pain as facial wounds were scrubbed clean of track grit. As she returned to Australia in a wheelchair, there was serious doubts about whether Meares would ever ride again.
Meares could have retired from the sport boasting a remarkable record at all levels of international competition, topped off by a gold medal performance at the Athens Olympics. But the tenacity that had made her such a tough competitor reasserted itself. Within weeks she was back on the track, more than holding her own with her male team-mates.
The recovery was confirmed at a time trial in Melbourne. Not only did Meares easily eclipse an Olympic qualifying time set by the selectors for a 200-metre sprint, she went close to setting a personal best for the event and eventually went on to win the Olympic Silver in Beijing in the Women's Individual Sprint.
The 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games saw Anna winning a record 3 gold medals and setting 3 new Commonwealth Records and she continued her winning streak into the 2011 season winning two gold medals at the Oceania Championships followed later in the year by two silver medals in the Kazakhstan World Cup to kick of the Olympic year of competition.
Anna capped of 2012 by winning the Women’s Health Sports 'Woman of the Year' Award. Most recently however, Anna was chosen as Australia's flagbearer for the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony.