Insights from Anna Meares


As we approach the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Nine is proud to celebrate the history, athlete spirit, and impact of the Games. To start a series of conversations, we had the pleasure of speaking with Anna Meares, the Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team. Her insights offer a profound understanding of the cultural chemistry that animates the Olympics, and in turn engages millions of Australians time and again.

Navigating the Games as Chef de Mission

Meares describes her role as Chef de Mission as multi-faceted.

"Firstly, I am in charge of the environment and culture set for our Australian Olympic Team in Paris. I achieve this by building a leadership team around me, including Olympians Mark Knowles, Kaarle McCulloch, Bronwen Knox, Kyle Vander Kuyp, and Ken Wallace. I work with the Australian Olympic Committee to build relationships with member sports, coaches, high-performance staff, presidents and CEOs to understand their needs and create a cohesive Olympic Team."

Anna's passion for the role is evident as she emphasises the honour and pride she feels in leading the team and working with like-minded, motivated individuals. 

The timeless appeal of the Olympic Games

"There is great history in the Games," Anna reflects. "It is great because of the people, the stories, the effort, the love, and the unity through common value and purpose."

Anna's personal connection to the Games began as an athlete, and she found the experience addictive. "To be involved beyond my competitive years, given an opportunity to impact the lives of others as they have their moment in the Games and the Australian Olympic Team, is what gets me up every day."

A multi-sensory celebration

Highlighting the multi-dimensional nature of the Games, Anna says they are

"the biggest multi-sport event in the world and are ‘multi’ in so many ways. They celebrate our multicultural world. The Games are truly multi-sensory, multi-emotional, multi-colourful and multi-dimensional. It is where participation and unity combine with high performance in a showcase that comes around just once every four years. It is a celebration, and one that athletes and other participants savour for the rest of their lives." 

The making of an Olympic champion

"For those rare few who stand atop the podium, we all know it takes a great deal from themselves, their family, friends and community. They are exceptional.

There is a lot that must go their way and a lot out of their control. What contributes to those who succeed at the Olympics is that despite there being no guarantee of success, they commit and dedicate as much as anyone else, prepare as much as anyone else, and are able to execute across more facets than anyone else on that one day of competition. You do not have to be perfect. You just have to be better on that one day, in that one moment. To have the composure, confidence, and instinct – not just the physical traits. The body is one thing, the heart and the mind are another."

Memories and moments

Anna's first memory of the Olympics is from 1996, at the age of 12, watching the men's 1500m swimming final at Atlanta on televisions in a shopping centre. She recalls weaving through the crowds to get to the front and witness Keirin Perkins win gold for Australia, and Dan Kowalski silver.

"It wasn't the results that I remember as a young girl, but the impact on an enormous group of people who didn't know them, didn't know each other, but were pulled together through their sporting efforts at those Games." This memory underscores the unifying power of the Olympics.

At her first Games in Athens in 2004, just 20 years of age, Anna felt like she was "plucked from watching to now being inside the TV," surrounded by athletes from various disciplines – 150kg weightlifters, four-foot gymnasts, seven-foot basketballers – as she walked through the Olympic village. Her final Games memory is equally vivid, carrying the flag for Australia at the main stadium and being hit by a wave of noise, colour and lights – a memory she will never forget.

Golden opportunity: Creating a lasting legacy

From iconic city attractions, powerful stories, breathtaking athletic performance and ground-breaking sports to pure entertainment, the Games provide an unparalleled opportunity for brands to make their mark in history. Through Nine’s unified content ecosystem, brands have a unique opportunity to create a legacy, make an impact, and be part of a celebration that resonates with 98 per cent of Australia.

Stay tuned for more insights and stories from the Games as we continue our conversation with those closest to the magic.

Looking to put your brand at the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on Nine? We'd love to hear from you.

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