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Meares: "I'm lucky, but disappointed"

Meares in Los Angeles before the crash that has put here Olympic participation in doubt.

Meares in Los Angeles before the crash that has put here Olympic participation in doubt. (Image credit: Mitch Friedman)

Australian track super star Anna Meares' met with press in Adelaide, Australia, today to discuss the accident at January's Los Angeles Track World Cup that nearly cost the Queenslander her life. Cyclingnews' Greg Johnson reports.

Three and a half years after her 500-metre time trial Gold medal at the Athens Olympic Games, a wheelchair-bound Anna Meares addressed the media at Adelaide's Hilton Hotel as her next Olympic assault hangs in jeopardy. Yet the 24 year-old cyclist is lucky to be alive after a heavy fall at this month's Track World Cup round in Los Angeles, threatened to take more than her Olympic dreams away.

In addition to the heavy skin grazing, torn tendons and muscle tissue sustained from the accident, Meares dislocated the AC joint in her right shoulder and sustained a hairline fracture to her C2 vertebra. Talking to the media at the press conference, Meares recalled the night of the accident.

"I don't recall a lot after the crash, but I was in the keirin and American Jennie Reed came under me with about two laps to go, which forced me to be at the back of the keirin," she started. "I had discussed this with Martin [Barras] earlier – if I had found myself at the back and what I should do – all of the races had looked as though a lot of the girls were getting stuck in each other's way and was quiet close contact.

"The advice that I was given, if that was the case, was just to lay off and give myself some room so I didn't get caught up in any of that and make one fast charge as late as possible to get around as quickly as possible, which is what I did," explained Meares. "I remember accelerating into the bell and making my move in the turns of one, two, and then I don't recall exactly how I fell. I remember hitting my head and being in a lot of pain straight away and then the next thing I remember is being on the bottom of the track and being attended to.

Read the full feature with Meares.

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