MEARES Anna < Back  
Sport Cycling - Road, Cycling - Track
CGA Australia   
Gender Women
Born 21 Sep 1983 in Blackwater, AUS
Height1.65 m
Weight 72 kg
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Residence Adelaide, SA, AUS
Occupation Athlete
Languages English
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She began cycling at age 11.
Why this sport? The family rule was that the oldest got to choose the sport and the youngest ones had to follow on. As the youngest of four she followed in her siblings footsteps. "We went through sports like BMX, karate, triathlon, tennis, you name it. We were actually watching Kathy Watt compete in the Commonwealth Games on TV, which sparked our interest in cycling given our background in BMX."
Club / Team Team Jayco / Port Adelaide: Australia
Name of coach Gary West [personal], AUS, from 2009
General Interest
Nicknames Bubzie, Annie, Annabel, Miss Anna, Anna Banana, Mearsey (Athlete, 30 Apr 2004; musashi.com.au, 02 Apr 2007; cycling.org.au 22 Nov 2013)
Memorable sporting achievement Winning the keirin at the 2015 World Championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France. The victory clinched her 11th world track cycling title. (abc.net.au, 23 Feb 2015)
Hero / Idol French track cyclist Felicia Ballanger. (rio2016.com, 28 Aug 2015)
Injuries In 2013 she suffered a back injury that kept her out of racing for two weeks. (heraldsun.com.au, 08 Jul 2013)

Six months before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, she crashed and suffered a hairline fracture to her vertebra, some torn muscles in her neck, a dislocated right shoulder, torn tendons in her shoulder and some bruising. (Herald Sun, 25 Apr 2008; bbc.co.uk, 26 Jul 2011)

She injured her back in 2005. (Cycling Central, 12 Feb 2006)
Awards and honours She was named the Women's Health Woman of the Year in 2015. (abc.net.au, 27 Oct 2015)

She was named Australian flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. (abc.net.au, 21 Jul 2014)

She was named Australian Cyclist of the Year in 2008 and 2012. She was only the second female to receive the award after Anna Wilson in 1999. (cycling.org.au, 18 Aug 2015; cyclingnews.com, 08 Jan 2015)

In 2007 and 2011 she was named Australian Institute of Sport [AIS] Athlete of the Year. (ausport.gov.au, 11 Nov 2011)

She has been named Australian Elite Female Track Cyclist of the Year seven times between 2004 and 2012. (cycling.org.au, 22 Nov 2013)

In 2005 she received the Order of Australia Medal [OAM] in the Australia Day Honours List. (cycling.org.au, 10 Nov 2011)
Famous relatives Her sister Kerrie has also represented Australia in track cycling, and won two Commonwealth gold medals in 2002. (bbc.co.uk, 26 Jul 2011; adelaidenow.com.au, 31 Jul 2010; cycling.org.au 22 Nov 2013; SportsDeskOnline, 10 Jul 2014)
Ambitions To compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (theage.com.au, 22 Feb 2014)
Other information MARRIAGE HEARTACHE
In January 2015 she separated from her husband of nine years, Mark Chadwick. It led to a difficult period in her life and she nearly quit cycling. "For a long while, I had no enjoyment in riding. I lost my self-belief and confidence and lost value in myself and what I was doing. It took me a long time to find some fun and allow myself to continue with, and be okay with, being passionate about what I do. I have been fighting and working hard to be where I am today, and hopefully where I want to be in Rio later this year." (couriermail.com.au, 12 Feb 2016)

INTERNATIONAL FIRST
The gold medal she won in the keirin at the 2015 World Championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, took her to 11 world championship gold medals, a new record for female cyclists. It was also her 26th world track cycling medal, beating the previous best set by Chris Hoy of Great Britain. (abc.net.au, 23 Feb 2015)

NATIONAL FIRST
Her victory in the 500m time trial at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens made her the first female Australian track cyclist to win Olympic gold. Her time of 33.95s also made her the first female to break the 34-second barrier. (annameares.com.au, 26 Jan 2012)

REPLYING TO CRITICISM
She claims she responded to all of the 'thousands' of negative messages she received from fans of her British rival Victoria Pendleton during the 2012 Olympic Games in London."I think some people forget you are just a person and have feelings. The intensity around that was like nothing else I've ever experienced before and I would not like to experience that ever again to be quite honest. It took me about six months, but I replied to every single hate mail letter. I handwrote replies, I emailed, I used social media to reply. I probably shifted 95% of the perception but there were 5% of people who said 'Nup, I think you're an awful person'." (smh.com.au, 16 Oct 2015)

HIATUS
She took some time off from the sport after the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and missed the 2013 World Championship. She returned to competition in July 2013. (smh.com.au, 05 Feb 2014)

CRASH COMEBACK
She believes a 2008 crash where she sustained multiple serious injuries has made her stronger. "I think it has made me tougher as an athlete, made me more focussed and passionate. The fact that I came so close to losing it all makes me want to come back harder. This is a challenge for me. It would have been easy to give up, sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself. But I just didn't want to do that." (Herald Sun, 25 Apr 2008; annameares.com.au, 26 Jan 2012)

OTHER ROLES
She is a charity ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Little Heroes Foundation, and Port Adelaide Community Youth Program, and was elected as a member of the Australian Athletes' Commission at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She will stay in the position until 2016. (cycling.org.au, 18 Aug 2015; corporate.olympics.com.au, 10 Jul 2014)