Meares clean sweep of Jayco 2012 Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards
Anna Meares tonight capped off a triumphant year with a swag of trophies at the Jayco 2012 Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards in Sydney.
This year Meares, 29, was crowned Olympic, World and Australian Champion and tonight she was presented with the Sir Hubert Opperman Medal after being named the 2012 Australian Cyclist of the Year. It's the second time Meares has claimed the gong, the first time was in 2008.
“A few months ago I stood in a similar position being presented with a very special gold medal and that gold medal has a very long journey," said Meares, referring to her 2012 London Olympics Games sprint gold medal which she won over Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton.
“I started back in the days where I grew up, with all the sacrifices of my family and my sister Kerrie. It also started back at the last Olympic Games in 2008 after working through the accident and coming through with a silver medal.
“I was able to live a dream that I had spent the last 18 years trying to have happen.
“Through three Olympic Games, I won bronze in Athens in the sprint, silver in Beijing, I can tell you I am so proud to be able to say I am now the Olympic Sprint champion," Meares said.
Meares then revealed she has her sights on a fourth Olympic Games, although will take a break before heading back into training.
“I would like to continue on for another four years through to Rio and the next Olympic campaign, but you won’t see me until next year as I will be taking a nice break," Meares explained. "And in that break, this Olympic champion is looking forward to wearing my trackies around the house, gardening, walking my dog and annoying my husband."
A trio of men's category champions, SBS Cycling Central Elite Road Cyclist of the Year, Simon Gerrans, Singapore Airlines Elite BMX Cyclist of the Year, Sam Willoughby and Elite Para-cyclist of the Year, Michael Gallagher, were also finalists for the 'Oppy Medal'.
Watch Anna Meares' acceptance speech.
The Queen of track cycling also claimed the People's Choice trophy for the third time polling ahead of finalists Gerrans, Willoughby, Cadel Evans and Rachel Neylan who was named the SBS Cycling Central Elite Female Road Cyclist of the Year Award.
Completing her sweep of accolades Meares was also named the Mavic Elite Female Track Cyclist of the Year for the eighth time in nine years.
The awards were presented at a black tie gala at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth in Sydney and honoured the achievements of a host of Australian cycling stars across the gamut of track, road, mountain bike and BMX in categories ranging from juniors to masters aged over 60.
Omnium World Champion, Glenn O'Shea picked up the Mavic elite male track award for the first time while world ranked number one Caroline Buchanan nabbed the Singapore Airlines elite female BMX title for the fourth straight year. In the elite mountain bike category 24hr solo marathon world champion, Jason English took the men's while London Olympian Rebecca Henderson secured the women's award. The women's Para-cycling award was shared by Paralympic Games winning tandem pair Felicity Johnson and pilot Stephanie Morton.
Junior track star Taylah Jennings was named the Shimano Junior Cyclist of the Year and Geoff Stoker the Jetset Glynde Masters Cyclist of the Year.
Victorian Hilton Clarke was presented with the Coaching Award for the second year in a row while National Track Sprint Coach, Gary West, accepted the Coaching Program Award on behalf of the Cycling Australia / AIS Track Sprint High Performance Program.
This year in competition at World Championships, Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Australian cyclists claimed 48 wins, placed second 37 times and collected 29 bronze medals. Meares was crowned Olympic Champion and eight Australians stood on the podium to receive a gold medal at the Paralympic Games. The sport also celebrated success in other major events including the BMX Supercross World Cup titles won by Willoughby and Buchanan and three wins by Gerrans in WorldTour events on the road.
Cycling Australia would like to thank the sponsors and supporters of the Cyclist of the Year Awards - Jayco, the Australian Sports Commission, Subaru, SBS Cycling Central, Mavic, Singapore Airlines, Shimano, Jetset Glynde and the Amy Gillett Foundation.
Jayco 2012 Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards - Recipients List
Trophies were also presented to previously announced winners of the Subaru National Road Series