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Anna Meares address to the Australian Olympic Team

Anna Meares address to the Australian Olympic Team

Your excellencies, Chef Kitty and to our Australian Olympic  Team. Welcome to Rio.

In just a few days time the Games will kick off and like me you're all probably feeling a mixture of emotions. Nerves, anxiety, pressure and excitement. What lies ahead for us no one knows, it's unwritten history. But what lies ahead of our rivals and competitors is known. A team of men and women brimming with Aussie spirit, a spirit that many in the world envy. 

We're a nation proud of our heritage. From our indigenous Australians to those who have immigrated and sought refuge to those born and raised on Aussie soil. We are all proud to call ourselves Australian.

We are the sports men and women of a great country who brave the grandest stage in front of millions bringing all in our nation along for the ride. A real life show of highs and lows. 

The Olympics are unique. I've been asked so many times why I'm still here, why I still ride, why I still compete, simple answer is, I love the feeling I get on the rare few days once every four years to wear the green and gold. My name is Anna Meares but it's not my name that makes my rivals take notice, It is the strength and pride I gain in spirit when I put on my green and gold racing gear. 

You're about to represent yourself, your family, friends, team, sport and country. It sounds like a lot. But the reason we are held in such high esteem as sportsmen and sport women is because we carry that Aussie spirit, that never give in attitude and that lets have a real crack mindset. 

Because all of us have fought and struggled and dug deep, there's been times we've been down for the count but every time no matter the hurdle no matter the challenge no matter the fight in front of us, we get back up and go again. We have all felt loss and we have all felt success too. That balance between the two is something only we can appreciate.

I have lost more races then I have won. I stand before you still striving for more success and still dreaming the same dream I had as a young girl in country Queensland. 

I could have retired after London, gone out a winner, gone out on top of my sport. But Rio offered a chance for me to not just be great, but to be greater again. 

No one can find fault or disappointment in anyone who strives to be better in themselves and challenge themselves to do great things. And in its simplest terms it starts with bringing that competitive Aussie out in all of us and digging deep like Cathy Freeman, Kierin Perkins, Herb Elliot, Thorpey and a great friend of mine, Marjorie Nelson Jackson did in years gone by. 

So to all in this team, in my team, in our team, let's make this Olympics great. Continue to be you, that's what has got you here. Continue to fight and battle and no matter the outcome I, like your family, friends, team and country, will be proud of you.