Anna Meares retires from cycling

The most decorated cyclist in Australian Olympic history, two-time Olympic gold medallist Anna Meares, has announced her retirement from the sport.

Meares, 33, enjoyed an international career spanning 15 years, which included four Olympic Games and six Olympic medals and saw her become the only individual Australian athlete to medal at four consecutive Games.

Meares also won 11 world titles, the most by a female cyclist. She won 35 national titles and five gold medals at Commonwealth Games.

"I am really proud of my longevity, also proud of the level of high consistency in my performances and results during my career," Meares said in a statement released by Cycling Australia.

"It is hard to close this chapter, because it is a bloody big one, but I am really excited about the doors opening in to the next chapter of my life."

Meares' achievements are even more incredible in light of the life-threatening injuries she suffered in a race crash, including a fractures in her neck, just months out from the the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Meares said she would most like to be remembered for her "resilience and strength".

"I am really proud I have stuck around for as long as I have and while some people think I have made it look easy, I had to work so hard to stay on top.

"And I have been challenged extensively throughout my career and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of those challenges.

"I feel that I have grown with each experience and they have left me a better athlete, a better person."

Cycling Australia CEO, Nicholas Green OAM, paid tribute to Meares upon her announcement.

"Anna's contribution to the sport of cycling is immeasurable, and whether on or off the bike, Anna exemplified the utmost professionalism and respect for the sport and her peers," he said.

"Her results at the Olympic, world championship and Commonwealth level are second to none and is a tribute to her hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence. 

"Also the resilience shown by Anna as she faced repeated challenges throughout her career epitomised her strength of character and truly inspired the nation.

"While the trademark Meares stare, speed, power and victories will be sorely missed in velodromes across Australia and throughout the world, Anna has left a legacy on the sport that will be felt for years to come.

"Quite simply, the world of cycling is stronger because of Anna Meares, not poorer because of her retirement.

"We wish Anna all the best and look forward to her remaining with the sport in Australia to nurture and mentor our next generation of cyclists."

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