The 33-year-old weighed extending her career to ride in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in her home state of Queensland but said she felt it was time to try something new.
“Cycling Australia and the sport of cycling in Australia have given me so much and I am so profoundly proud of being a cyclist and a member of the Cycling Australia team,” an emotional Meares told Cycling Australia.
“I am really proud of my longevity, also proud of the level of high consistency in my performances and results during my career.
“It is hard to close this chapter, because it is a bloody big one, but I am really excited about the doors opening in to the next chapter of my life.”
Meares won six Olympic medals from four Games including two gold, 11 world titles, 35 national titles and five Commonwealth Games gold medals.
Meares said that she would like to be remembered for her “resilience, and strength.”
“I am really proud I have stuck around for as long as I have and while some people think I have made it look easy, I had to work so hard to stay on top,” she said.
“And I have been challenged extensively throughout my career and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of those challenges.
“I feel that I have grown with each experience and they have left me a better athlete, a better person.”
Meares admitted there had been a temptation to go on and finish her career on home soil at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but the wear and tear of a punishing sport had taken its toll.
"Having looked back and seen all the things that I have achieved and assessed some of the injuries that I have had to manage going into Rio," Meares said.
"Most people were unaware that just to get to Rio, I had six cortisone injections through my spine."
"Having had to change tack for six months leading into it and to achieve the things I have, I feel satisfied and happy to step aside from the sport and try something new and different."
Anna Mears by the numbers:
- 6 Olympic medals (incl 2 Gold)
- 27 World Championship medals (incl 11 gold. Most by any woman in the world)
- 8 Commonwealth medals (incl 5 gold)
- 35 National titles
- 8 world records and four Commonwealth records
- Only woman to have ridden world records in all three timed events (500m, 200m & Team Sprint)
- Only woman in the world to have won World Titles in every sprint discipline
- Only woman in the world to medal at the Olympics in all four sprint disciplines
- Most Olympic medals won by an Australian cyclist
- Only Australian to medal in 4 consecutive Olympics in individual events
- First woman to win Olympic Gold for Australia on the Velodrome (at the age of 20)
- First women to ride sub 34 and sub 33 seconds for the 500m Time Trial
- Order of Australia Medallist
- Centenary Medallist
- Two-time Oppy Medallist – Australian Cyclist of the Year