Sport

Reggie Tucker reflects on Anna's amazing career

LIVING LEGEND: Anna Meares former coach Reggie Tucker with photos of one of Anna's first ever major wins, the under-15s national titles in Perth.
LIVING LEGEND: Anna Meares former coach Reggie Tucker with photos of one of Anna's first ever major wins, the under-15s national titles in Perth. Allan Reinikka ROK171016atucker1

CYCLING: Ken 'Reggie' Tucker remembers the day like it was yesterday.

It was 1995 and he was waiting for Kerry Meares to arrive at the track. Two girls got out of the car.

"I said, 'Kerry, who else have you brought?" Reggie explained.

 

Australia's Anna Meares looks on after being presented with the bronze medal after placing third in the final of the Women's Keirin at the Rio Olympic Velodrome, on day eight of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio deJaneiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug.13, 2016 (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Australia's Anna Meares looks on after being presented with the bronze medal after placing third in the final of the Women's Keirin at the Rio Olympic Velodrome, on day eight of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio deJaneiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug.13, 2016 (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY DAVE HUNT

Little did he know that Australia's most successful track cyclist had just arrived to his velodrome.

"I always had the feeling that this girl would be good. But you could never foresee that she would be this good," he said.

"The thing I remember most, was her tremendous want to win. She just always wanted to win and never lost it. Above all things. She wanted to be the most successful cyclist and she got it. My word she did."

Anna announced that she was retiring from cycling over the weekend. 

Reggie recalled Anna's early struggles and the almost unwelcome avoidance from the other Australian competition.

"She struggled early and really had to work for it," he said.

"A lot of the southern girls didn't want to know her. But she got her break at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and got a bronze in the sprint.

"Then went to Nationals and got four gold medals, that was the launch pad."

 

Anna Meares, multiple World and Olympic Champion and medal winner
Anna Meares, multiple World and Olympic Champion and medal winner Contributed

Reggie knew there was only one place his star pupil needed to go. The high performance centre in Adelaide.

"I told her she needed to go down there. And her standard reply was that she was a home girl," he said.

"It was hard for her but she accepted it. And the rest is history. Twenty two years in the game and the most successful track cyclist in Australian history.

"A pretty proud resume to take into retirement."

Ken and Anna discussed her retirement only six weeks ago when she was in Rockhampton.

He said it was a privilege that she still, to this day, maintains contact with him.

"Over the years she has always stayed in contact with me, because she wants to," he said fondly.

"She is still the same girl that rode around my track. Success hasn't changed her and I am so proud."

Topics:  anna meares central queensland cycling australia reggie tucker rockhampton



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