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01 October 2019

Anna MearesCelebrated Australian cyclist Anna Meares OAM, OLY, will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia today for her distinguished service to the community. 

Meares is one of Australia’s most talented athletes and burst onto the global track cycling scene at the 2004 Athens Olympics when she won her first gold medal in the 500m time trial.  

She went on to produce one the greatest sporting comebacks of all time when she won a silver medal for the sprint at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – just seven months after breaking her neck in a race crash in Los Angeles.  

UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd, says Meares’ story serves as a testament to following your dreams and the Honorary Doctorate acknowledges her sustained success on and off the track. 

“Meares isn’t just the greatest female track cyclist in history, she is one of Australia’s greatest athletes of all time, continually setting new benchmarks despite immense adversity,” Prof Lloyd says. 

“Her commitment, sportsmanship, and persistence over her career are all hallmarks of her character and should serve as an inspiration for all of us in our own endeavours.” 

Meares won her first sprint Olympic gold in London (her second career Olympic gold) four years later, beating famed British rival Victoria Pendleton.  

In Rio, she was selected as the team captain and flag-bearer for the 2016 Summer Olympics where she won the bronze medal in the keirin. This was Meares’ sixth and final Olympic medal, making her Australia’s only athlete to medal individually at four consecutive Olympics.  

In October 2016, Meares announced her official retirement from competitive cycling, finishing as a 35-time Australian track champion and having held Olympic, World, Commonwealth and National records. 

Alongside her achievements on the track, Meares is an ambassador for Cycling Cares, a fight Motor Neurones Disease campaign in memory of her coach Gary West, the Little Heroes Foundation, the Steve Waugh Foundation, and Port Adelaide Football Club, participating within the clubs community programs including their youth program, and became a foster carer in retirement.

She has also formally been an ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and cystic fibrosis

It is this community work that UniSA is honouring today. 

Meares has also written her own biography The Anna Meares Story: The fighting spirit of a champion and continues to share her story as a public speaker, giving many talks about sportsmanship, success, and the power of the mind over body, with a new book in the works to be published in 2020. 

Mears says she is honoured to be receiving the Honorary Doctorate from UniSA. 

“UniSA is in the business of changing lives and offering people hope and opportunity – helping them to realise their potential,” Meares says. 

“To have this acknowledgement, from a university dedicated to equality of opportunity is important to me because I understand how vital a chance, and even a second chance, is to personal success.” 

  • More than 1600 students will graduate from UniSA this week. 
  • Anna Meares will receive her Honorary Doctorate at 3pm Tuesday at Pridham Hall, City West campus. 
  • On Wednesday peace campaigner, Gillian Hicks will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate and Trish White, Executive Director, Slingsby Taylor and National President and Chair of Engineers Australia, will be made a University Fellow.

 Media contact: Candy Gibson office +61 8 8302 0961 mobile: +61 434 605 142 email: candy.gibson@unisa.edu.au


 

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