Cycling great Anna Meares calls time on glittering track racing career

Cycling great Anna Meares has announced her retirement from the sport at the age of 33. Australia’s double Olympic and 11-time world champion said: “Obviously, a lot of people will be wondering where I am going to post-Rio. With some time in reflection I have decided that I am actually going to retire.” The rider, who battled back from a near-fatal crash to compete at four Olympics, said she was tempted to ride on and finish her career at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, but the effects of riding competitively had taken its toll. “I am really proud I have stuck around for as long as I have,” she said.

I have been challenged extensively throughout my career… and I feel that I have grown with each experience and they have left me a better athlete, a better person

Anna Meares

Meares won six Olympic medals, starting with a gold in Athens in 2004, while her record 11 world championship titles among a career total of 27 medals is the most all-time by a female track cyclist. She fought back from fracturing a neck vertebra on the World Cup circuit in Los Angeles in January 2008. Had the crack in her vertebra had been two millimetres longer, she could have been killed. Yet seven months later she went from a wheelchair to winning an Olympic silver medal in the sprint in Beijing. She bowed out with another bronze in Rio but said: “Most people were unaware just to get to Rio I had six cortisone injections through my spine.”

Congratulations on all your achievements, have a very happy retirement!

British cycling great Sir Chris Hoy