By Nisa Schebella
Track cyclist Anna Meares was the toast of the town in Adelaide this week in a moving tribute to her recent successes on the boards. Held in the trendy Universal Wine Bar in Rundle Street East, the celebration of Meares' 12 year cycling career was presented by Cycling Australia and one of her dedicated sponsors, the National Australia Bank. Friends and family witnessed the presentations and heard the accolades.
Meares arrived at the party in Adelaide, thinking that it was just another team event. The unsuspecting star of Australian track cycling was instead surprised to discover that the function was in her honour, and was brought to tears when her parents and former coach Kenrick (Reggie) Tucker arrived unannounced, direct from Rockhampton.
The younger of a pair of track star sisters, Anna, the sister of Kerrie, is currently riding high on her outstanding achievements and plotting out the next chapter of her life. At just 23 years of age, the Beijing and London Olympic Games are still in her sights for the Sprint event, but Meares is also hopeful that her favourite event, the 500m time trial, will be brought back onto the Olympic program by 2012.
Smashing her own World Record in the 500 to 33.588 seconds at the World Championships in Majorca in March this year, Meares has seemed to achieve all the big goals she has set out to do since she started track cycling at the age of fourteen. Or has she?
Meares started her cycling career in BMX. On moving to Rockie as a teenager, she flirted with the idea of triathlon as she was also a good swimmer, but was persuaded by Tucker to stick to cycling under his guidance, and she put all her energy into one discipline. "Triathlon is for people who have 'tried' all three sports and are not good at any of them!" she remembered of Tucker's advice.
"I had quit the sport, but Kerrie was still cycling and every week Reggie was in my ear," she told Cyclingnews. Tucker succeeded, and he was instrumental in laying the foundation for Meares' success during her teenage years. "He laid down a lot of the laws and morals that still effect my cycling today."
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