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CONGRATULATIONS ANNA – MEARES NAMED FLAGBEARER OF AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC TEAM

Queen of the Track Anna Meares will lead the Australian Olympic Team into the Maracana Stadium on August 5 after being announced as Australia’s flag bearer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The dual Olympic gold medallist Meares, who will become just the third female track cyclist in history to contest four Olympic Games when she hits the track in Rio, was announced by the Australian Olympic Committee at an official ceremony in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.

Meares will become just the second cyclist in Australian Olympic Games history to receive the honour after Dunc Gray carried the flag into the 1936 Games in Germany.

“To every member team of the Australian Olympic Team, to all of Australia, I am humbled and I wanted to let you all know how proud I am to be the Australian flag bearer and lead our Olympic team in Rio”,” said Meares, who was named to her fourth Australian Olympic Cycling team yesterday.

“For me, a country girl, a coalminer’s daughter, to become the second cyclist in history to be a flag bearer, leaves me very emotional and proud.

“When you look back at Olympic history, there very few Olympians, fewer Olympic champions and again, even fewer Olympic flag bearers.

“As a child, I dreamt of being an Olympian, of being an Olympic champion, but never contemplated being an Olympic flag bearer.

“Of all the things I have achieved and I have done, carrying the flag for Australia is the greatest honour.”

Meares made her Olympic debut twelve years ago at the 2004 Games in Athens where she famously claimed gold in the 500m time trial and bronze in the sprint.

At the 2008 Games in Beijing, Meares cemented one of the most amazing comebacks in sporting history after spectacularly winning silver in the sprint just seven months after breaking her neck in a race crash which nearly ended her career.

Four years later in London, Meares etched her name into the list of Olympic greats as she won her maiden sprint gold by defeating fierce rival and hometown favourite Victoria Pendleton.

Cycling Australia CEO Nicholas Green OAM welcomed the announcement and congratulated Meares on behalf of Cycling Australia.

“I would like to congratulate Anna on being awarded with this amazing honour,” said Green.

“Anna is one of the greatest athletes Australia and the world has ever seen, and whether on or off the bike, she truly embodies the Olympic spirit and ideals.

“She is a terrific role model and leader and continues to inspire so many people throughout Australian community.

“Whether it be to get out on the bike themselves, to get fit, to challenge themselves, to strive for excellence, or how to how to be a gracious and humble athlete.

“I believe this choice is a true representative for all Australians.

“We can’t wait to see her lead the Australian Olympic Team into the Games opening ceremony and I look forward to joining millions of Australians cheer her on at the velodrome.”

Meares was part of a five-member track sprint team named by the Australian Olympic Committee on Tuesday.

The Track Cycling competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be held form August 11-16.

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