Anna Meares hangs up the bike after 22 years
AFTER dedicating 22 out of 33 years of her life to cycling, Rockhampton's golden girl Anna Meares has today officially announced her retirement.
Anna, who was born in Blackwater before growing up in Middlemount and Rockhampton, listed her achievements before thanking all those who helped her along her phenomenal cycling journey and said it was "time for a new path" in a post on her Facebook page.
Of all of her achievements, Anna said the best was "just having the opportunity to ride for Australia, to represent my country, to wear green and gold. How fortunate is that?"
"Thank you to all for the love and support and following of my career," Anna said.
"Thank you to my team, my Coach Gary West and Manager Francine Pinnuck, the CA HPU Program, the AIS and Sports Commision, QAS and SASI, my sponsors both past and present, to my dearest friends, my beloved family, Bruce the beagle and of course THANK YOU AUSTRALIA."
One of the greatest highlights of Anna's career was being the Australian Olympic team captain and flag bearer at the 2016 Rio Olympics earlier this year.
At the Games, Anna won a bronze medal in the keirin, placed 10th in the sprint and fourth in the team sprint.
In August, Anna was awarded the fitting honour of having Queensland's first indoor velodrome named after her.
ANNA'S LIFE ON THE BIKE
- 22 years (2/3 of my life)
- 15 years at the elite senior level
- 6 Olympic medals (incl 2 Gold)
- 27 World Championship medals
- (incl 11 gold. Most by any woman in the world)
- 8 Commonwealth medals (incl 5 gold)
- 35 National titles
- Ridden 8 world records and four Commonwealth records
- Olympic 500m record holder
- Only women to have ridden world records in all three timed events (500m, 200m & Team Sprint)
- Only woman in the world to have won World Titles in every sprint discipline
- Only woman in the world to medal at the Olympics in all four sprint disciplines
- Most Olympic medals won by an Australian cyclist
- Only Australian to medal in 4 consecutive Olympics in individual events for any sport
- First woman to win Olympic Gold for Australia on the Velodrome (at the age of 20)
- First women to ride sub 34 and sub 33 seconds for the 500m Time Trial
- Order of Australia Medallist
- Centenary Medallist
- Oppy Cyclist of the year twice
- AIS inductee 'Best of the best'
- AIS athlete of the year twice
- SA athlete of the year four times
- ISWIS Leadership Legend award winner
- ISWIS Athlete of the year twice
- 2014 Australian Commonwealth Games flag bearer
- 2016 Australian Olympic team captain and flag bearer
Her amazing list of achievements are made all the more remarkable given she suffered life threatening injuries after a horrific race crash just seven months from the 2008 Olympic Games.
Speaking to Cycling Australia, an emotional Anna said the sport of cycling in Australia has given her so much and she was profoundly proud of being a cyclists and a member of the Cycling Australia team.
"I am really proud of my longevity, also proud of the level of high consistency in my performances and results during my career," Anna said.
"It is hard to close this chapter, because it is a bloody big one, but I am really excited about the doors opening in to the next chapter of my life."
When asked what she would most like to be remembered for outside of her extensive medal tally and records list, Anna remarked "resilience and strength".
"I am really proud I have stuck around for as long as I have and while some people think I have made it look easy, I had to work so hard to stay on top," she said.
"And I have been challenged extensively throughout my career and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of those challenges.
"I feel that I have grown with each experience and they have left me a better athlete, a better person."