THE AADA MOTORONE BUSINESS BREAKFAST: “DETERMINATION” WITH ANNA MEARES
Anna Meares is one of Australia’s greatest-ever Olympians, and the only Australian athlete to ever win medals at four different Olympic Games. Considering she broke her back just months before the second of those Olympics, hers truly is a story of determination.
Over the years Anna has collected 44 medals at Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games levels. She was flag bearer and team captain at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Anna overcame major life-threatening trauma to realise her dream. She experienced a career-stopping heavy fall during a time trial at the World Cup in Los Angeles in January 2008, less than eight months out from the Beijing Olympic Games.
She was thrown from her bike in a collision with other riders and sustained a hairline fracture to her C2 vertebrae. She was two millimetres away from being a quadriplegic on a respirator for the rest of her life. Her other injuries included a dislocated AC joint in her shoulder, heavy skin grazing, torn tendons and muscle tissue damage. The accident immediately threw her plans for the Beijing Olympics in August into doubt, and it was possible she may never ride again.
She was determined however, and was back on the bike within just ten days of the accident. At the Melbourne time trial four and a half months after the accident, she was easily able to eclipse the Olympic qualifying time set by selectors in the 200 metre sprint. At the Beijing Olympics she won the silver medal in the Women’s Individual Sprint, the only Olympic medal won by any Australian cyclist that year.
In the 2012 London Olympics, Anna won gold in the Sprint in an intense and historic sporting moment against long term rival Victoria Pendleton of Great Britain. That gold was matched by a bronze medal won in the Team Sprint.
Not satisfied with her success in London, Anna pushed on for another four-year cycle to the Rio Olympics, in which time she once again broke the 500m world record and won another world title, taking her career total to 11 World Championship crowns and making her the most successful and decorated female track cyclist in history. At Rio she won her sixth Olympic career medal, a bronze in the Keirin.
An accomplished speaker, Anna talks about sportsmanship, success and the power of the mind over the body. “Success is not about staying un-defeated,” she says. “It’s about how you handle defeat – that’s what makes a true champion on the track and off it.”
Anna retired post Rio after 22 years involved in the sport, 15 years of those representing Australia at the elite senior level.
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