Cycling star Meares feels London pressure
Australian cycling’s “old duck” Anna Meares plans to create Olympic history at the London Games with an age-old cliche in her head.
Gold medal fancy Meares, among Australia’s 14-strong cycling team for the London Olympics announced on Friday, says she’s never felt such a weight of expectation.
“But I heard a quote the other day that I have taken to heart – that pressure makes diamonds,” Meares told reporters in Adelaide.
“And I’m hoping that I can use this pressure and this expectation that is on me at this Olympic Games to shine in any way I can.”
The sprint star said she was enjoying a faultless preparation for London, where she aimed to become the first female track cyclist to win four Olympic medals.
“This time around, being my third Olympic Games, has been a little bit more strategically planned than it has been in the past,” Meares said.
Meares’ planning included ignoring any personal barbs in her duel with chief rival, Great Britain’s reigning Olympic sprint champion Victoria Pendleton.
Their frosty relationship, and predicted gold medal grudge race, will be a keynote of the London Games.
“I’m not going out saying anything personal against Vicky and Great Britain,” Meares said.
“We’re both competing for that Olympic gold medal and unfortunately only one of us gets it.”
Meares, 28, is the elder of an Australian cycling team with just one other cyclist boasting Olympic experience – team pursuit leader Jack Bobridge.
The London team features the first brother-sister combination to ride for Australia at an Olympics, Alex and Annette Edmondson.
Eighteen-year-old Alex snared the only team position in doubt when named in the five-man endurance squad.
“To have my sister there next to me, it’s going to be crazy,” Alex told reporters.
Alex and world omnium champion Glenn O’Shea are likely to compete for the fourth position in the team pursuit to join Bobridge, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn.
Matthew Glaetzer, Shane Perkins and Scott Sunderland, the shock team sprint gold medallists at the world championships, comprise the men’s sprint squad.
Annette Edmondson is joined by Amy Cure, Melissa Hoskins and Josephine Tomic in the women’s endurance squad.
Meares, a gold and bronze medallist at the 2004 Athens Olympics and silver medallist in Beijing four years ago, will again unite with Kaarle McCulloch in the team sprint.
“This is a young team,” Meares said.
“And with youth comes enthusiasm, motivation, desire – and that is contagious for me being the so-called old duck of the team.”© AAP 2013
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