Australian looks to back up keirin world title with Olympic gold medal
Anna Meares (Australia) will begin her individual Olympic program on Friday in London, following a bronze medal performance in the team sprint with Kaarle McCulloch.
The 28-year-old's next task will be backing up her dual keirin world championship wins when the heats get underway. She is competing in her third Olympic Games and it's a challenge Meares is looking forward to.
"I think tonight is going to make tomorrow unbelievably intense," she said following her appearance in the team sprint on Thursday. Fierce rivals Great Britain were disqualified for an illegal change, robbing the team of a chance to stand on the podium.
Meares and McCulloch had lined up against Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish in their heat only to lose by 0.3 of a second. Before the start gun, a huge roar from the home crowd drowned out any cheers for the Australians, with McCulloch later admitting that she had been forced to pretend the noise was being created for their benefit.
"The worst thing you can do is add emotion to a bunch of sprinters as they can use it as motivation," Meares admitted. "Vicky [Pendleton] is going to be there looking for the win. I am going to be there looking for the win and also the Germans are running on a high [after winning gold in the team sprint]."
Pendleton, like Meares, is contesting three events, and with one of her opportunities to add to her gold medal from the Beijing Olympic Games already gone before her planned retirement, there was no doubt for the Australian as to what effect it would have on the Briton's state of mind.
"I don't think she is wounded - she will be absolutely livid," she stated. "That can be used as a motivation."
- Olympic games