Friday August 15th was the date that a 6 month fundraising campaign would come to a close. The Life First, Appearance Second Campaign, to raise as much money as possible for the Little Heroes Foundation supporting kids with serious illness was finally at its end. At 6pm at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide, I went with sweaty palms and nerves in my belly, excited to have my head shaved. I was surprised on the night by my sisters Tracey and Kerrie, my sisters in-law Emily and Danielle and my best friend Alex Bright who flew in to share the night with me and 150 other family, friends, supporters and guests.
Supported and Surprised by these lovely ladies
Channel 7’s Today Tonight covered the shave and gave us great exposure. 11 year old Jess Simone, a little hero herself, was there armed with clippers watched over carefully by my hairdresser and friend Tony Scarfo from Zink. Chris McDermott from the Foundation spoke briefly before the moment of truth. A last few deep breaths for me and the room fell silent from the excited buzz that filled it moments before. All I could hear was the hum of the clippers and it was only seconds before the hair began to fall down my neck and into my lap. It was happening. I was losing my hair. I thought I would get emotional but I wasn’t, I thought it would be a big shock but it wasn’t. I felt happy, I felt proud.
On stage just before the shaveIt was all over in a matter of minutes. All the hair was gone and Jess had done a wonderful job, Tony finished off tidying up and I was released back to the room a shorn woman. With people all smiling and rubbing my head I finally got to see my reflection and I was surprised that I liked the look. I was glad to have a decent shaped head ; )
With my husband Mark Chadwick after the shave wearing Raw Pearl jewellery and Liza Emanuele dress
The night was held at the National Wine Centre, with fine wine and fine food, the evening was enjoyed by all. MC Wayne Phillips did a fantastic job keeping the night light and fun, there were many a laugh had thanks to him and the Auction concluded the night and the fundraising.
By the end of the night the fundraising tally reached an incredible $212,355 and it is so pleasing to say that donations are still filtering in, and of course are welcome!
Handing over $212,355
On behalf of the Little Heroes Foundation, I would like to thank everyone who supported me on this campaign. Every donation big and small added up to an incredible total. To those who donated coins or $5 to those who donated thousands, to those who donated time to support events and fundraising to those who donated items for auction, to those who put donation boxes at their business. I thank you sincerley
Thank you to the Foundations long-time supporters - Channel Seven, Today Tonight and the National Wine Centre. Thanks also to Tomich Wines and Triplescore for their support on the night of the shave.
Your support has been able to start a project that will see the Women’s and Children’s Hospital gain a first of it’s kind in Australia, children specific rehabilitation facility. I feel very proud to have made such an impact and I hope all of you who supported me and this campaign do to.
You can watch my head shave as seen live on Channel Seven's Today Tonight here. http://www.littleheroesfoundation.com.au/news/p726.aspx#sthash.m1pJZ6BT.dpuf
The Glasgow Commonwealth Games was a very memorable week for me. When we arrived at the village and had our first team meeting we were told that seeing we were competing on the first day of competition, we would not be marching in the opening ceremony. My heart sunk. For in 3 Olympics and now four Commonwealth Games I have only ever attended one opening ceremony, my first in Manchester 2002.
Settling into the village was seamless for me and we were very spoilt in receiving as much Diadora team gear as we did. First look at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome brought butterflies to my stomach. It was a beautiful track but it was a steep tight track. I could imagine what it would look and feel like when the stadium was full of people, colour and noise. I was keen to race.
The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome
The night before the Australian team’s flag bearer was announced, my coach met with me to ask if I would accept a nomination from Cycling Australia to be the teams’ flag bearer of which a decision would be made by Chef De Mission Steve Moneghetti from those nominated by the sports. I couldn’t contain myself, ‘YES, of course’ I told Gary with a smile that filled my face, and for the next 24 hours I dreamt of my name being called as flag bearer... and well… it did.
As I looked to the floor at the Australian Team reception whispering to myself, please, please, please, please, Steve Moneghetti said,’ And our flag bearer for the 2014 Commonwealth Games team is Anna Meares’ J In my happiness I clenched my first and gave a quiet ‘yes’ but then realised everyone was looking at me. ’What do I do now’ I thought. No one said anything about if you get it you have to do this?
‘Go up on stage’ my team mates were saying, so I went up on stage.
‘Make a speech they said’ so I made a brief speech when I was almost speechless.
‘Wave the flag they said’ so I waved the flag and knocked over a microphone stand in the process…. Oh well, ‘I’ll just keep waving the flag’ I thought.
‘Now head off with the flag’ they said, so I walked through the sea of green and gold and got to the back of the room and thought,
‘Well now what?’ and what was now was my emotional reaction of the honour hitting me. I just broke down into tears, so happy, so proud. What followed was a few hours with the media before heading back to the village to try and rest.
Celebrating being named flag bearer
The next night was the big night. I went into the marshalling late and left early to try and not impact on my first race of the games too much. I rode my bike to the marshalling area and my coach and team manager waited outside the stadium with my bike so I could ride back to bed when I was done.
I took my place at the front of the hundreds of Aussie athletes and staff, the largest team ever assembled for a Commonwealth Games, and was handed the flag on a beautiful white flag pole. I felt myself become breathless as I grasped it with my hands and turned around to cheers and smiles form all my team mates. I gave it a wave and started an AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE chant to which they all replied OI OI OI. That was magic. As we walked to the stadium Sir Chris Hoy spotted me and came to wish me well and told me to enjoy this moment.
Ready to lead the Aussies as flag bearer
My hands were shaking and sweaty and I just kept thinking to myself, wave the flag but for goodness sake, DON’T DROP IT!!!!!
As I stood on the cusp of the stadium and looked waiting for the cue to walk I could see people, thousands and thousands of people happy, smiling, waving, the colours I saw and the energy I felt was unlike anything I have experienced before. I smiled and smiled and smiled some more. There was nothing that could stop that smile, and through that smile I felt I showed what that incredible moment felt like and meant to me. We got the cue, ‘off you go’ and as ACDC began to play the crowd said as one ‘Come on in Australia!’ followed by a cheer that seemed to follow us as we walked around. Everywhere I looked I saw smiles, waves and something Aussie be it a flag, a kangaroo or green and gold. I got to live a moment very few get to do. I got to walk tall and proud, I got to hold and wave the Aussie flag and lead the Australian team into the Commonwealth Games. Something I never thought I’d get the chance to do. Career Highlight indeed!
Flag Bearer for Australia
From the opening ceremony to, day one of competition and the 500m TT. This event has been won by my family for the past 3 Games. Kerrie winning in Manchester 2002 and me winning in Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010. How desperate I was to win it once more and take a hat trick of gold over the past 3 games. The velodrome was colourful, it was loud. I had no idea what time I had to beat, I just focused on what I had to do to ride my fastest time. Strong start, low line, good transitions, and hold on as long as you can to cross the finish line. I looked up to the board and saw that I had won and ridden a new Commonwealth Games record. That smile was back after being gone for a few minutes. Not just was I the flag bearer but I won Australia’s first gold of the games, the afternoon after. Magic. That 24 hours was just magic.
500m Gold Medallist
The next event on the calendar was the Sprint. I knew this was going to be a difficult one for me given the form I knew my team mate Stephanie Morton was in. She picked up silver in the 500m where low range acceleration shines. In the sprint, it’s more top end speed that counts. Something she is very strong at. My biggest challenges would be Steph and Jess Varnish from England and my qualifying seeded me so that I would face them both.
The semi-final against Jess saw me show some of the finer tactical rides I have put together since London to the final where I was just out engined by Steph, I came away with my 8th Commonwealth Medal from 9 starts over 12 years of representation at that level, a silver medal. Yes I was disappointed and it hurt to lose. But at the same time I knew that was the best I had and I had to be satisfied with my best. And of my effort I was proud.
As we waited in the marshalling area for our ceremony Steph asked me to stand with her on the top podium for the anthem. I said ‘No’ for I didn’t want to steel her moment, but she insisted and when we got to the podium and turned for the anthem she again asked, to which I finally broke emotionally and said yes, thanking her for the gesture.
Singing the Anthem with Steph
Walking through the media zone post ceremony and not post-race to allow Steph the moment she deserved after winning was challenging to face some questions and comments but on the whole I felt everyone was very respectful. And there was one face on the other side of the fence I hadn’t seen in almost 2 years, Victoria Pendleton reporting for BBC5live. My goodness how strangely good it was to see this familiar face again.
Meeting up with VP for the first time since London
After all the post-race media with Steph and Matt Glaetzer who went on to win the men’s keirin I had a day to spend with my husband Mark and two wonderful locals of Edinburgh who toured us round for a day in their home city. Thank you to the Hoy’s for such an incredible day.
Mark and I with Sarra and Chris Hoy at Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh
I sit at home now writing this blog as the Closing ceremony finishes on TV and I can’t help but feel emotional these great games are over. What a memory I’ve been able to create. I thank each of you for your love and support and as I close this blog, I say, onward…. To RIO!
Welcome to my re vamped website. It has been some time since I wrote a blog so let me update you all. After 6 months off the bike and 1 year out of international competition I have kept myself busy.
I continue to ambassador for the NBCF, The Little Heroes Foundation and the Port Adelaide Football Club. This past Mother’s Day I participated in the Mother’s Day Classic walking 4.3km raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research, prevention, cure and care. Something close to my heart after my family lost my Nan Daphne 20 years ago.
I have been made officially an ambassador for the Port Adelaide Football Club this year after being involved in the club and community programs for the past few years. I participate in their Girl Power program, empowering our young female leaders of tomorrow.
Finally and this is the big one for the year, I am shaving my head in support of the seriously ill children supported by the Little Heroes Foundation of which I have been an ambassador for 4 years. The ‘Life First Appearances Second’ Campaign has been running since February this year having so far raised $50,000. On returning from Glasgow, all my hair will be gone at a fundraising dinner in Adelaide on August 15th. For those wanting more information on why I am doing this and to make a donation, you can go to www.annalittleheroes.org
Last year I sat as a subject for artist Phillip Barnes for a painting he would create and donate his time and the finished product to the Amy Gillett Foundation for Auction with 100% of the proceeds going to bike rider safety awareness, education and programs. From over 1000 entries, the completed work became a finalist in the 2014 Archibald Prize. The winner will be announced Friday July 18th.
I am proud and privileged to still have my long term and loyal sponsors behind me supporting me through to my goals in Rio in 2016. Toshiba, BHP billiton, Uvex and Musashi have sponsored me for the past 7-13 years and I am proud to have some new support on board too.
I visited Olympic Dam with BHP Billiton sharing my campaign for Little Heroes as they implement a new clean shaven policy to support their Health and Safety practices. It was great to visit Olympic Dam and meet the many workers and people who call ‘The Dam’ home.
For Uvex I visited Curtis Island, the site of Australia’s largest gas mining site. I grew up in Qld and often visited Gladstone when I was growing up and seeing it change from what it was then to what it is now was mind boggling for me. The tour of the site and again meeting the workers was a great experience and they all loved my pink high vis-shirt.
Musashi have been the longest standing sponsor of mine having been in my corner since I was a junior. I had the pleasure of being on the Musashi Stand at the Filex health and fitness expo in Melbourne, helping people understand the importance and role of supplements and even have a go at some of the challenges Musashi had for the crowds, a 15m rope climb and dead ball lifting contest led by the legendary Derek Boyer.
Toshiba continue to lead innovation and they help me to stay ahead when it comes to collecting and collating all of my training data from SRM files to tracking my progress in the gym on the path to RIO. It was fantastic to meet with their clients (from business to schools) supported by Toshiba at a luncheon in Melbourne earlier this year.
As stated above new to my support network are the Motor Accident Commission of South Australia as the face of their cycling safety campaign, ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ The online videos and information can be found at www.mac.sa.gov.au/besafebeseen helping all road users to share the road safely.
I’ve been using this great blender which you can get from www.spectablend.com.au Spectablend is a great addition with nutrition and healthy eating a vital part of my preparation. Here is a link to a video of a great breakfast smoothie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOaV0m0d8Ew
Santini asked me to design and be involved in producing a women’s only cycling range with my name on it. To be asked this was hugely exciting for me and being involved in the process with Sanitini, looking at designs, materials and cuts has been fascinating. I am so excited to know the line comes out in January 2015, with a limited edition set of 2 available for now to wet the appetites of so many ladies eager to see and get their hands on this line. The quality that Santini will be able to offer female cyclists will change everything you thought you knew about comfortable cycling clothes. I have been training and racing in their attire for years now and wouldn’t go anywhere else.
Central Queensland Properties are also on board as they bring joy and support to first home buyers; they are helping me get to Rio as supported as I can be. Their persistence and positive outlook in a competitive and challenging building environment is inspiring. I have done a couple of campaigns for them as well as visited and met with their first home buyers in Gracemere Qld, where my cycling really kicked off as a young teenager. Norman Emanouel is a really innovative and wise person and he was so kind to name a park in the development site, ‘Anna Meares Park’ joining Anna Meares Ave, Kerrie Meares Blvd and Meares Family Park. I felt really honoured that Central Queensland Properties have named the development after me and my family.
Finally a new partnership with Goanna Products has just been launched. It is very exciting to be the face of this iconic Aussie product and how perfect a fit ‘GOANNA.’ The first of 5 ads can be seen here with Goanna offering the chance to win a sporting adventure worth $10,000! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TdTB7J4Y7w&feature=youtu.be
My first season of competition after returning from a post-Olympic break at the start of 2013 culminated with two silver medals at the World championships in Cali Colombia in February 2014.
In that season I achieved one of the 4 major goals that spurred me to stay in the sport post London and that was becoming the first woman in the world to ride a sub 33 second time trial 10 years after I became the first woman in the world to ride a sub 34 second time trial as a young 20 year old at my first Olympics in Athens 2004. 32.836seconds is where the new World Record stands and this record became the 8th time I have ridden a world record in my career.
Back into international competition now for just on a year, my next major goal is the Glasgow Commonwealth Games where on June 10th 2014 I was announced as being an official representative of Australia for track cycling for a record equalling 4th time. I will ride in Glasgow having represented as many times as Kathy Watt. In Glasgow I will contest the 500m Time Trial and the Sprint. There will be some very strong competition, but sadly the 2013 World Sprint and Keirin champion Becky James (Wales) will be unable to compete. Becky released the below statement regarding her difficult decision to withdraw and I wish her my best in her recovery and look forward to racing her in the years to come.
Preparation for Glasgow for me is going great with some very heavy training loads having been achieved in an effort to surpass performance levels of the past not just for Glasgow but ultimately for Rio in 2016. Training through the first international meet of the season, The It’s Adelaide International yielded a perfect opportunity to challenge my mind and tactical implementation under fatigue ahead of the taper into the games. Results from racing saw me place 3rd and 4th in the Sprint and 1st and 3rd in the keirin. I didn’t just get a good hit out physically, mentally and emotionally but I collect valuable points to qualify for the world cup season of 2014/2015. This is crucial because the point’s qualification for Rio begins this season and continues for the remaining two years towards the Olympics.
Now just weeks out from the games in Glasgow, we have had fun interviewing and producing packages for Channel 10 who will be covering the Games in Australia so keep an eye out for those packages throughout the games.
That’s it from me. I will keep some regular blogs coming for you to read. Until then, please check out this website and enjoy. Thanks for your support