Anna Meares, 33 has officially announced her retirement from cycling, meaning she will not compete at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Widely regarded as the greatest female track cyclist in history, the Queensland-native has left an astonishing legacy in the sport, seemingly setting new benchmarks and breaking down barriers every time she took to the velodrome.
“Cycling Australia and the sport of cycling in Australia have given me so much and I am so profoundly proud of being a cyclist and a member of the Cycling Australia team,” an emotional Meares told Cycling Australia.
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“I am really proud of my longevity, also proud of the level of high consistency in my performances and results during my career.
“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.”
During a stellar 15-year international career, Meares amassed six Olympic medals from four Games including two gold, to become the most decorated Australian Olympic cyclist.
This also elevated her as the only Australian athlete to medal at four consecutive Games (individual events).
The adopted South Australian also grabbed 11 world titles for most all-time by a female cyclist, plus bagged five Commonwealth Games gold and 35 national crowns.
This was made all the more remarkable given Meares suffered life threatening injuries after a horrific race crash just seven months from the 2008 Olympic Games.
“Resilience, and strength,” remarked Meares when asked what she would most like to be remembered for outside of her extensive medal tally and records list.
“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.
“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.”
when I came into it, which I am really proud, of,” said Meares, who spent time on the UCI Athletes Commission.
Here more from Anna on her retirement announcement on the Cycling Australia website here.
Cycling Australia CEO Nicholas Green OAM paid tribute to Meares upon her announcement.
“Anna’s contribution to the sport of cycling is immeasurable, and whether on or off the bike, Anna exemplified the utmost professionalism and respect for the sport and her peers,” said Green.
“Her results at the Olympic, World Championship and Commonwealth level are second to none and is a tribute to her hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence.
“Also the resilience shown by Anna as she faced repeated challenges throughout her career epitomised her strength of character and truly inspired the nation.
“While the trademark Meares stare, speed, power and victories will be sorely missed in velodromes across Australia and throughout the world, Anna has left a legacy on the sport that will be felt for years to come.
“Quite simply, the world of cycling is stronger because of Anna Meares, not poorer because of her retirement.
“We wish Anna all the best and look forward to her remaining with the sport in Australia to nurture and mentor our next generation of cyclists.”