Anna Meares is one of Australia's favourite sporting heroes and one of the most talented athletes in the world. She is a three-time Olympian, two-time Olympic champion (gold and silver in London, gold and bronze in Athens, and silver in Beijing), ten-time world champion across four different events, four-time Commonwealth Games champion, and current world champion in two events (the team sprint and the keirin).
She is also a 29-time Australian track champion; and has won 18 world championship medals. At the Delhi Commonwealth Games, Anna won a record three gold medals and set three new Commonwealth Records along the way. Apart from this, she has many other accomplishments to her credit including being awarded the Order of Australia medal at the age of 20, and being the first woman to win gold for Australia in track cycling at the Olympics. She is also the winner of Australian Cyclist of the Year, People's Choice Cyclist of the Year twice (nudging out Cadel Evans in the year he became the first Australian to win Le Tour de France), AIS Athlete of the Year twice, and Australian Elite Female Track Cyclist of the Year - 7 times.
Anna launched into the track cycling world scene when she claimed her maiden world title in the 500m time trial at the world championships held in Melbourne, aged 20. Just a few months later she went on to claim her first Olympic gold in Athens in the 500m time trial - also becoming the first woman in the world to break the 34-second barrier - and won bronze in the sprint. One of her most remarkable achievements was her silver medal in the sprint at the Beijing Olympics - Australia's only track cycling medal of the Games - just seven months after she broke her neck in a horrific crash at a World Cup meet in Los Angeles. Her spirit of sportsmanship, her never say quit attitude, her passion and focus on the goal and her dedication and hard work - are the hallmarks that define her as a champion and a winner.
Anna's recent accomplishments include two silver medals in the Kazakhstan world cup, two silvers in the London World Cup, and in the World Championships in Melbourne Anna won the World Title in the keirin and the 500m time trial, breaking the world record in the 500 she'd lost setting the new bench mark at 33.010. This win took Anna's career tally of world titles to 10, putting her equal with France's Felicia Ballanger as the most successful women's sprint cyclist ever. During the London Olympics, Anna won bronze in the team sprint with Kaarle McCulloch and later gold in an exciting photo finish and with a great tactical display over arch rival Victoria Pendleton of Britain.
Her success on the track is not the only thing that drives Anna. She has chosen to be a strong contributor to her community serving as an ambassador for the Little Heroes foundation for kids with cancer, helping to raise funds for a worthy cause and put a smile on the faces of the children fighting this seemingly undefeatable disease and providing inspiration to their families. She is also an ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and participates is the Port Community Youth Program. Anna is an accomplished speaker having given numerous talks about sportsmanship, success and the power of the mind over the body. 'Success is not about staying undefeated', she says soberly, 'it's about how you also handle the wins and in particular the defeats - that's what makes a true champion - on the track and off it'.
Anna's popularity does not stem merely from her phenomenal track record. She remains close to the hearts of the public because she is an inspiration to everybody who knows her. She is down to earth, and never lets success get to her head. She remains persistent and dedicated regardless of media adulation or criticism. And she never believes something is impossible simply because someone else said so! Anna has demonstrated time and again that she is a true champion.