Anna Meares and Jack Bobridge headline the Australia track cycling team that has been named for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
I heard a great quote the other day that ‘pressure makes diamonds’ so I’m hoping I can shine in London.
The announcement date of the 14-strong squad was brought forward by almost a month after the April UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne, which doubled as the last qualifying event for London 2012.
Beijing 2008 Olympian Bobridge spearheads the men’s endurance squad that includes 18-year-old Alex Edmondson, who is the youngest of the fold, plus two-time team pursuit world champions Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn as well as reigning omnium world champion and comeback kid Glenn O’Shea.
Team pursuit world championship silver medallists Josephine Tomic, Melissa Hoskins and Annette Edmondson, sister of Alex, comprise the women’s endurance squad that also includes 19-year-old Amy Cure.
Bobridge, Dennis, Hepburn and O’Shea joined forces at the world championships, in qualifying and the final, to win silver behind Great Britain, which took gold in a new world record time.
“We’ve named a really exciting group who will be extremely competitive,” Cycling Australia national performance director Kevin Tabotta said.
“They have done everything that was asked of them in the lead up to selection and, although relatively young, have demonstrated they have the talent and maturity to deal with the demands of major competition."
Bobridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) is currently competing on the road at the Giro d'Italia, his first stage race since October last year, where he hopes to build endurance ahead of London and a team pursuit assault.
Alex and Annette will become the first brother-sister combination to represent Australia in cycling at the Olympics.
“It’s a dream come true but only half the job is done so now I have to go and do the other half over there," Alex said of his selection.
“Nettie and I have sort of been playing around with it because of the focus on us as brother and sister but now it’s actually happening. I thought I would be able to describe it (the feeling) but I just can’t, it’s crazy.
“To make it by myself would be amazing but to do it with Nettie is a one of a kind experience and a great reward for our family, especially mum and dad who have always supported us and believed in us.”
Shane Perkins will make his Olympic Games debut in London with Matthew Glaetzer and Scott Sunderland also named in the men’s sprint squad. The trio together won the team sprint world title in Melbourne last month.
Athens 2004 gold medallist and Beijing 2008 silver medallist Meares as well Kaarle McCulloch comprise the national women’s sprint team. Meares successfully defended her keirin world title this year and with McCulloch won silver in the team sprint.
Nominations for the rest of the national cycling team are set to be submitted to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) in June.
There are 10 Olympic track events on the program this year including the men's and women's team sprint, sprint and keirin as well as the men's and women's team pursuit and omnium.
“It’s something that I’ve been working towards for four years and have been meeting all the goals set along the way to ensure selection," said Meares.
"Our coach pulled the sprinters aside earlier this week to tell us we had been officially nominated and reminded us of what a privilege it is to represent Australia at this level. It was a very emotional moment, especially for my teammates who are heading to their first Olympic Games."
Meares, at 28, is the veteran of the team. She and Bobridge are the only two Beijing Olympians included in the London 2012 team that boasts 12 Olympic Games debutants.
“I don't think of that as a weight on my shoulders, I quite like holding that place in the team,” she said. “My first time around I was the baby (Athens 2004). Eight years later I’m going to my third Games and now I'm at the other end so I can be the voice of experience as well.
“Sure there will be a little bit of pressure but I heard a great quote the other day that ‘pressure makes diamonds’ so I’m hoping I can shine in London.”
Australia track cycling team for the London 2012 Olympic Games
Endurance events: Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Alexander Edmondson, Michael Hepburn, Glenn O'Shea, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson, Melissa Hoskins, Josephine Tomic.
Sprint events: Matthew Glaetzer, Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland, Kaarle McCulloch, Anna Meares.