Kaarle McCulloch dreamt of representing Australia at the Olympics when she was a promising middle distance runner. But as McCulloch’s motivation in track and field began to flail, she started track cycling and found another way to fulfil the Olympic dream.
In 2010, McCulloch and London teammate Anna Meares broke the team sprint world record in winning the World Championship, a title they would defend in 2011. The duo missed out on a third straight World Championship crown in 2012 when they were defeated by Germany by just 0.05 seconds.
McCulloch and Meares also won silver at the London Test Event in 2012, but narrowly missed out on the gold medal race at the Olympics. Their qualifying time ranked them fourth (32.825 seconds), then their first round ride ranked them third (32.806 seconds), and suddenly McCulloch and Meares were racing for bronze. McCulloch and Meares easily accounted for the Ukraine to win the bronze medal in 32.727 seconds, still shy of their personal best time of 32.597 seconds. In the ride-off for gold the new world record holders from China rode much slower than their world record time of 32.447seconds, and appeared to be too strong for Germany, but were disqualified after the race handing the German World Champions gold. Earlier in a sensational team sprint session, Great Britain had also broken the world record in qualifying before being disqualified in round one.