Meares to lead medal hungry track stars in Rio
5 July 2016
CYCLING – TRACK: Olympic legend Anna Meares will lead an Australian track cycling team bursting with gold medal potential after the 16-strong squad was announced today.
Australia qualified the full quota of track cyclists for Rio and will be in the hunt in each of the six sprint and four endurance events at the 2016 Games.
Meares will line up with Olympic debutant Stephanie Morton in the Team Sprint while also competing in the Keirin and aim to defend her London 2012 title in the Sprint. Morton experienced gold at the London Paralympic Games as a Tandem Pilot.
“It’s a really nice feeling to make it to my fourth Games,” the dual Olympic champion said.
“It was the one event I wanted to make after London and although it’s been a long road I know the next few weeks leading into Rio are going to fly by.
“I think I’ll be going to Rio in the best physical form I have ever been in in my career and I’m ready to do my absolute best for this team and my country.”
Meares will become just the third female cyclist in Olympic history to compete in four Games on the track in Rio and while she is keeping her personal goals close to her chest she is excited about the depth of talent and gold medal chances in the team.
“Our sprint team are going to be very strong in Rio. I’ve had a lot to do with the prospective Rio sprint athletes and I’ve really enjoyed that experience.
“I also think there are exciting times ahead for both the men’s and women’s endurance teams.
“It will no doubt be challenging but I’m really excited about the team heading to Rio.”
While Meares has been there and done it before, rising star and Olympic sprint debutant Pat Constable will get his first shot at Olympic glory in Rio having won his first World Cup gold earlier in the year.
Constable will line up alongside London 2012 Olympian Matt Glaetzer, who is a medal chance in each of the three sprint events in Rio, and fellow newcomer Nathan Hart in the Team Sprint.
“I’m ecstatic to be going to my first Games,” 21-year-old Constable said.
“It’s all happened pretty quickly and I haven’t put too much pressure on myself but I’m happy where I’m at and where I am heading.”
Alike Glaetzer, Constable is planning to hit the track in all three sprint events in Rio but says his focus is on the team event.
“We are heading in with a team sprint focus especially as that is the first event. We have the fastest man on the planet in Glaetzer and Nathan is really competitive with the top guys in the world.
“With the work that we’ve done we can be really excited heading over to the Games.”
While the majority of Australia’s Olympic track cycling gold medals have come from the sprint disciplines, London 2012 Olympian Annette Edmondson will be looking to the lead the team pursuit team to the top of the podium in Rio.
Edmondson, alongside fellow Rio 2016 teammates Ashlee Ankudinoff, Melissa Hoskins and Amy Cure, was a part of the world-record breaking team that won gold at the 2015 World Championships and believes the Australian team that also features Georgia Baker can revive that form at Rio.
“The goal is to go out there and win the gold in Rio and we won’t be satisfied with anything less,” said Edmondson who will also compete in the Omnium in Rio, an event she won bronze in at the London 2012 Games.
“We tried out some new processes going into the 2016 Worlds which didn’t work out but we know what we did in 2015 and we’ve gone back to that.
“We know each other back to front and know if we all time our form to peak on the same day then we will be smoking.”
The team recently took their training to Rockhampton in the build up to Rio.
“The training block was perfect. The weather was amazing which gave us the chance to get a lot of work in on the outdoor velodrome.
“We are now looking forward to heading back indoors and seeing the benefit of that.”
The 24-year-old South Australian is one of eight sets of siblings in Rio after her brother Alex Edmondson, who was selected for London but didn’t get a ride, was announced to the men’s endurance team.
He will line up with soon-to-be three-time Olympian Jack Bobridge, London 2012 Omnium bronze medallist Glenn O’Shea and Olympic debutants Sam Welsford and Callum Scotson.
“Making my third Olympic Games is an unbelievable feeling,” said Bobridge who won team pursuit silver at the London 2012 Games.
“With Sam, Callum and Michael winning the worlds this year it has given the team a massive boost that the whole squad needs in an Olympic year.
“I think myself and Alex returning to the squad will be great for the team pursuit and I think with our experience and strengths within the event we can hopefully get us to the top step of the podium in Rio.”
Bobridge and the men’s track endurance team will now head to Arizona to finalise their preparations for Rio.
“We still have a lot of work to do within the group to win Olympic gold, but everyone knows that and we are all working hard together as one to do our best to finally make that extra step to the top of the podium.”
Australia won a gold, a silver and three bronze at the London 2012 Games with the most successful Olympic outing being the Athens 2004 Games where Australia won five gold medals, and Meares started her Olympic legend.
Track cycling will run from Day 6-11 (August 11-16 local time) in Barra Olympic Park with medals to be decided on each day of competition.
These 16 athletes, along with the other 9 cycling athletes (BMX, Mountain Bike, Road) selected today, take the overall 2016 Australian Olympic Team to 301 from 22 sports, with an expected final Team of over 400 athletes. Complete biographies on all selected athletes here>>>
TRACK CYCLING ATHLETES SELECTED FOR 2016 AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC TEAM
Anna Meares - Sprint, Team Sprint, Keirin
Stephanie Morton - Sprint, Team Sprint, Keirin
Patrick Constable - Team Sprint, Keirin
Matthew Glaetzer - Sprint, Team Sprint, Keirin
Nathan Hart - Team Sprint
Ashlee Ankudinoff - Team Pursuit
Georgia Baker - Team Pursuit
Amy Cure - Team Pursuit
Annette Edmondson - Team Pursuit, Omnium
Melissa Hoskins - Team Pursuit
Jack Bobridge - Team Pursuit
Alex Edmondson - Team Pursuit
Michael Hepburn - Team Pursuit
Glenn O’Shea- Omnium
Callum Scotson - Team Pursuit
Sam Welsford 20 - Team Pursuit