Posted: 8 August, 2012
by Triple M Sport
Anna Meares Beats Rival Victoria Pendleton To Gold In Cycling Sprint
Queen Victoria is dethroned. Long live Queen Anna. Anna Meares, the captain of the Australian Olympic track cycling team, scored the biggest win of her long and brilliant career when she outrode great rival Victoria Pendleton in the women's sprint final a
Queen Victoria is dethroned. Long live Queen Anna.
Anna Meares, the captain of the Australian Olympic track cycling team, scored the biggest win of her long and brilliant career when she outrode great rival Victoria Pendleton in the women's sprint final at the London Games velodrome.
After five days of frustration, near misses and heartbreak at times, the Australian track team ended their London campaign on a high as Meares triumphed in a clash fittingly tinged with a dash of controversy.
While Pendleton lost her crown in the final race of her career, her compatriot Chris Hoy retired from Olympic competition as the undisputed king when he took out the keirin final to collect his sixth career Olympic gold.
It took him past fellow knight and rowing legend Steve Redgrave as Great Britain's most prolific Olympic champion.
Meares' triumph - by 2-0 in the best-of-three race final - came two days after she botched the women's keirin final, finishing fifth as Pendleton won.
"This is the sweetest and most incredible victory of my career," said an emotional Meares, who added the gold medal to the 500m time trial gold she won in Athens eight years ago and also avenged her loss to Pendleton in the Beijing 2008 sprint final.
Pendleton just beat Meares in a photo finish in the first heat of the final, but minutes later was relegated for straying slightly out of the sprinter's lane as Meares closed in during their desperate battle to the line.
"I was really annoyed because I'm sure that she touched me and it caused me to move up," Pendleton said.
"I can't believe, twice in one competition, I've been disqualified and relegated, it's unheard of. It's a bit of a surprise, it did knock my confidence a bit I must say."
Pendleton and Jess Varnish had been relegated from the women's team sprint, where Meares and Kaarle McCulloch won bronze.
But Pendleton also paid rich tribute to long-time foe Meares for her gold medal.
"I'm glad that it got to that stage," Pendleton said. "I think she's the best rider in the field and it's the way that it should have been.
"Everything turned out right with Anna and myself in the final."
"She's a fantastic competitor. We've met many a time, and I wish her all the best but I'm very glad to be saying that's the last time I have to go through that."
Meares sobbed after proving too fast for Pendleton. She hugged coach Gary West repeatedly trackside, then went over to husband Mark Chadwick on the fence to celebrate.
Earlier in the day's program 20-year-old Annette Edmondson won bronze in the multi-discipline omnium.
Shane Perkins reached the keirin final, but simply lacked the necessary speed and finished fifth.
Great Britain's Laura Trott won the omnium, meaning the host nation won seven of the 10 track gold medals.
Australia finished second on the track cycling tally with a gold, a silver and three bronze - certainly below their lofty expectations.