On track for Brazil
AUSTRALIA'S 2016 Olympics chef de mission, Kitty Chiller, said Anna Meares was an inspiration to all Australians after the cyclist was named as the country's flag bearer at the Rio Olympics.
The 32-year-old cyclist from Blackwater, was chosen ahead of hockey veteran and fellow central Queenslander Jamie Dwyer, and race walker Jared Tallent.
Meares is an 11-time world champion and dual Olympic gold medallist, who almost lost her life following a crash in World Cup keirin event which left her with a broken neck in 2008.
Meares is already the only woman in Australian cycling history to have competed at three Olympics. In Rio, she will become just the third woman to compete in track cycling at four Olympics.
And it was because of her exploits and the manner in which she achieved them which made Meares the perfect choice to carry the flag for Australia, Chiller said.
"(Meares) is the epitome of what our team represents - respect, humility, and excellence," she said.
Meares will be the captain of the Australian team, expected to include 440 athletes.
"I did have an idea and even though I had some time to prepare, it's a bit of a shock," she said.
"I am incredibly proud and humbled; I would like to thank Kitty for this opportunity.
"To Australia, I am humbled and want you to know how proud I am.
"For me, a country girl, a coal miner's daughter, to become the second cyclist in history to be the flag bearer makes me very emotional and proud.
"Of all the things I have done, carrying the flag for Australia is the greatest honour."