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Todays Birthday 21/09

AAP logoAAP 20/09/2016

Today's Birthday, September 21: Anna Meares is a world champion Australian cyclist who recently took home a bronze medal at the Olympic games in Rio. (1983 - )

After breaking her back in a horrific cycling accident in 2008, Anna Meares made an incredible comeback to win a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics only a few months later.

It is a strength of determination and spirit that has seen her compete at the international level, winning her at least 30 gold, bronze and silver medals across her career.

Meares' passion for cycling began after watching Kathy Watt's gold medal win at the Commonwealth Games in 1994.

Living in the rural Queensland town of Blackwater meant Meares had to travel two hours to train at the nearest cycling track in Mackay.

Her first major win came in 2001 with the Australian Junior Women's Track Cyclist of the Year award.

In 2005 Meares dropped out of a bachelor of learning design to concentrate on her sporting career.

She has since competed at four Olympic games, including Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio (2016), where her two gold, silver, and two bronze medals have contributed to Australia's tally.

Competitive cyclist Michael Hepburn said of his teammate Meares, "I think she's just a very fiery character that loves winning."

Since divorcing her husband of nine years Mark Chadwick in 2015, Meares has said she has been on the brink of quitting cycling twice.

But her passion for the sport paid off after she was chosen to carry the Australian flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympics the following year.

"For me, a country girl, a coal miner's daughter, to become the second cyclist in history to be flag bearer for this country leaves me very emotional and proud," she said.

Meares currently lives in Adelaide where she continues her training at the Australian Institute of Sport's Super-Drome.

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