How old were you when you started cycling?
11 years of age.
How did you get involved in cycling?
I am the youngest of four children in the Meares family. Mum (Marilyn Meares) didn't want to take four kids to four different sports and so the family rule was that the oldest got to choose and the younger ones had to follow. I went through sports like Karate, BMX, Triathlon, Tennis, Swimming following my older brother Scott and sister Tracey until Kerrie and I watched the 1994 Commonwealth Games on TV. We saw Kathy Watt competing and we were most interested in the speed of the velodrome; Track cycling
Dad (Anthony Meares) found the nearest cycling club through the yellow pages and that was in Mackay 300km from Middlemount. He drove us in one weekend and we fell in love with the sport. So for 2 years rotating shifts, Mum and Dad would pick Kerrie and I up from School of a Friday afternoon, drive the 300km for us to race Friday night and Sunday morning before driving 300km home in time for school on Monday morning. A very big sacrifice on the part of our parents and a great commitment to take seriously what their 11 and 12 year old daughters wanted to do. They taught us that in life if something was worthwhile chasing then it wouldn't necessarily be easy and you would have to make a lot of sacrifices and work hard to get there.
After 2 years they moved us into Rockhampton where I found her first coach in Ken Tucker
Were you always a good cyclist?
No. For many years I was just a number in the field collecting competitor's ribbons. I was physically very small, skinny and short, not ideal for track sprinting but more built for road cycling, something that just didn't appeal to me. It was the friendships I made and the fun I had riding my bike that kept me in the sport early on until I became a teenager and started to physically develop. It wasn't until I was 16 that I showed physical promise.
When did you gain an AIS scholarship?
I was offered an AIS scholarship in 2002 however I declined the offer opting to stay close to home, recognising I wasn't ready for the big time. A year later after I won my first senior world championship medal; silver in the keirin, the offer was again put to me and this time at 19 years of age I accepted and moved to Adelaide in 2003.
Did you work or have you always been a professional athlete?
After I worked in my parents small business chicken shop during high school, I became a bank teller and worked night shift in the Adelaide hockey and Soccer canteens during night games around training.
How long do you train for?
I train 6 days a week up to 12 sessions covering road riding, gym, track training and ergo (stationary bike)
When was your first international race?
In 2000 I was selected in the Junior World Team for Australia competing in Italy where I placed 10th in the Sprint.
Do you have any pets?
Yes. I have a beagle called Bruce.
What's your favourite colour?
What's your favourite animal?
The tiger because, it can be placid and tender, but also very dangerous and powerful.
What's your favourite foods?
Steak, lasanga and lamingtons.
Do you have a strict diet?
I have a very healthy balanced diet with limited high fat/sugary foods. I train a lot and work very hard so it is important to fuel my body well because it is my tool to my success.
What other sports do you like to watch?
I love to watch almost any sport but I am a bit of a cricket nut, I love NFL, long track speed skating from the winter Olympics, motorsport, weightlifting... the list just goes on and on.
Who is your idol?
Kathy Watt got me interested in the sport of cycling. My sister Kerrie was always my idol as I came through the ranks. I admired Shane Kelly also. As I have gotten older I admire some of our great legends of sport including Raylene Boyle, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson but for me I want to be the female version of Sir Chris Hoy.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to garden, I enjoy arts and crafts, I like to spend time with my husband Mark and my family and friends and I like to go to the movies.
What's your outlook with the future?
Positive. Always positive. I like looking for ways to challenge myself to be better. I hope to ride on to the Rio Games in 2016 and enjoy all the ups and downs associated with that.
Do you have any advice you would like to give others looking to live big like yourself?
To live big start small. Keep an eye on the big picture but make what you do today count the most.
How much can you press with one leg?
With one leg I can leg press 235kg. I am pretty strong in the lower body.
What music do you like to listen to?
I am a big country music fan and love listening to Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Dixie Chicks, John Denver and the likes. But to train to I need a bit more punch in the music and I like to listen to Pink, Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters, Michael Jackson; music where the words have a bit of attitude.
Do you have any nicknames?
Mearesy, Miss Anna, Mrs Chad and my parents call me bubzee
What is your favourite sporting moment / memory?
This is very hard to pick just one. I have got a few
• Achieving my career goal to become world champion in every event. I achieved that in 2011. No one else in my sport has been a world champion in every discipline
• London Olympic Gold
• Beijing Silver
What inspires you?
Perfection which I know doesn't exist, but striving for it makes me be the very best I can be every day. Inspiration is taken from an external source and motivation is that drive that comes from within to chase a dream, a goal; to make something important to me a reality.
What is the greatest thing that you will take from your sporting career?
Success is not about remaining undefeated it's about how you handle the defeats. You can't have one without the other nor appreciate one without the other.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Do you get nervous? How do you handle nerves?
I always get nervous. To me nerves are a sign that what I am doing is important to me. I handle nerves by accepting they are there, taking deep controlled breathes and mentally bottling up the nerves to release as energy to help propel me to go faster on the bike.