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Anna Meares, 2018

by Narelle Autio

Anna Meares, 2018 by Narelle Autio
Anna Meares, 2018 by Narelle Autio

Anna Meares OAM (b. 1983) is both the youngest Australian track cyclist and first Australian female track cyclist to win an Olympic gold medal. Inspired by her family’s passion for competitive cycling, Meares began competing at age eleven. Within a decade, she won her maiden world title at the world championships in Melbourne. She claimed her first Olympic gold in Athens in 2004, becoming the first woman in the world to break the 34-second barrier. In 2008, just seven months after she broke her neck and dislocated her shoulder at a World Cup meet in Los Angeles, she took silver in the sprint at the Beijing Olympics. The first Australian athlete to win four medals in four consecutive Olympic Games, Meares collected 18 gold, 16 silver and 10 bronze medals at Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games levels. Among her many accolades, she was named Australian Cyclist of the Year in 2008 and 2012 and Australian Institute of Sport Athlete of the Year in 2007 and 2011; she was flag-bearer for the Australian team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and for the 2016 Olympic Games. Now a popular motivational speaker, she has served as an ambassador for various charities, events and teams including the Little Heroes Foundation and Cycling Cares.

Narelle Autio

‘Anna Meares is an Australian legend and one of the most talented and successful athletes in the world. During her track cycling career she was known for her power, courage and incredible determination, spending a lifetime clad head to toe in green and gold Lycra. We wanted to show another side. So often women are not celebrated for everything they are, their beauty and femininity as well as their strength. Spending her childhood years in central Queensland, Anna is a country girl at heart. The landscape in which she stands is symbolic of this but also tells a story of her unrivalled toughness and resilience.’

Narelle Autio (b. 1969) went to art school in South Australia intending to become a painter, but ‘somehow ended up’ with a camera. Graduating in 1990, she worked for the Adelaide Advertiser and for UK newspapers before returning to Australia in 1998, where she worked for the Sydney Morning Herald until 2003. She is the first Australian to have won the venerable international Leica Oskar Barnack Award for photography. She has won two World Press awards, an American Picture of the Year award and two Walkley awards, as well as twice being a finalist in the Basil Sellers Art Prize. She also has won the Fleurieu Art Prize, the Bowness Photography Prize and the Olive Cotton Award. Now Adelaide-based, Autio creates poetic images that challenge the limits of photo- documentation, her subjects often ‘unknown’ people depicted in extraordinary surrounds. She is particularly renowned for lush, glowing photographs of figures in water. She frequently collaborates with her life partner, photographer Trent Parke. Her photographs are in major public collections across Australia and in many private and corporate collections.

Commissioned with funds provided by King & Wood Mallesons 2018