Nation gets behind Anna Meares
TO understand Anna Meares's outpouring of emotion when she was announced as Australia's flag bearer for the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, is to understand her passion for helping people in need, and her hard-working background.
Meares proudly carried the flag for Australia this morning in Glasgow - she shed tears when it was announced she would be our flag bearer.
Australia's golden girl of the cycling track has just hit the $100,000 mark for her children's charity, the Little Heroes Foundation, which supports children living with cancer and serious illness.
A wholehearted competitor and someone not afraid to show her feelings, Meares is equally committed to helping kids in need.
She will shave her locks following the conclusion of the track cycling program on Monday morning (AEST), after she attempts to defend the three gold medals she won at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
"I really enjoy that stuff a lot. It's very humbling and it keeps me grounded," Meares told APN back in May, while also discussing her Glasgow ambitions against her main competitor, Wales' Becky James.
"You see little kids fighting for their lives, and all my problems pale in comparison.
"I went through so much pain in 2008 (a broken neck, a dislocated right shoulder, torn ligaments and tendons, and a heavily bruised right hip and skin abrasions at a World Cup event).
"So I can sort of relate to their pain, but what the kids go through is on such a larger scale.
"I've got a lot of pride, and I am very stubborn."
Those comments also give you an understanding on why Meares finds competiting at the highest level "addictive".
Those competitive fires were first realised while growing up in the small coal mining town of Middlemount in central Queensland.
"It was an awesome place to grow up. The town is big on sport, and I also participated in BMX, golf and tennis," Meares said.
"My mum and dad used to work at a chicken shop. They worked so hard to help support me.
"I learnt to work hard and to love life early on because of them."
Meares starts her 500m time trial campaign later tonight.