Rio De Janeiro, Aug 29 (IANS) The rarity of the Olympics has been a key motivational factor in her bid for glory at the 2016 Rio Games, track cyclist Anna Meares has said.
The Australian will be aiming for her third Olympic gold medal, having won the 500m time trial at Athens in 2004 and the sprint at London in 2012, Xinhua reported.
“The Olympics are a very rare opportunity to perform on the grandest stage of them all. The Olympics are the pinnacle,” Meares told rio2016.com.
“I may have won more races than most, but I know how rare those wins are, and how hard you have to work. In my life I’ve only been to three Games… looking at four. Whilst that’s more than most, in the space of a lifetime it’s so beautifully rare. And I want to experience as many of those beautiful rare moments as I can.”
Meares’ desire to compete at Olympic level was no more evident than in 2008.
Just seven months out from the Beijing Olympics, Meares fractured a vertebra in her neck and dislocated a shoulder in a crash during a World Cup race in Los Angeles.
She returned home in a neck brace and wheelchair, with few giving her a chance of recovering in time for the Olympics.
Not only did Meares recover, she won the silver medal in the individual sprint at the Laoshan velodrome.
The 31-year-old secured a place among the sport’s all-time greats in February by winning a record 11th world title in the keirin event.
Meares considered retiring after the Beijing and London Games, but now admits to being tempted by a fifth Olympic Games, in Tokyo in 2020.
“I will retire one day, when I am not exactly sure,” she said.
“If I start thinking about retirement, then I could lose focus on working hard today. I’ve never looked past an Olympic cycle until I’ve completed it. There won’t be any change in that.”