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Cycling legend Anna Meares' powerful message as she bows out of the Olympics.

Australian cyclist and flag bearer Anna Meares has missed out on a place in the women’s sprint at Rio, finishing 10th.

It was an emotional end to the veteran’s fourth games, with hopes high after Meares won gold in the same event at London.

The ride will likely be the final Olympic performance for the 32-year-old who won her her sixth career medal – a bronze – in the keirin race on Saturday.

She was overcome with emotion as she spoke to reporters at the finish line, describing the result as “brutal”.

“I put these colours on, I ride hard,” she said, admitting it was not what she’d wanted.

“I’ve given it my everything and hope people can forgive me. I didn’t deliver this time.”

While she knew the sprint would be a challenge, she said she didn’t expect to be so far “off the mark.”

Despite being disappointed in her final result, Meares said she was “extremely proud” to lead her team mates into the stadium in the opening ceremony.

“I’ve really revelled in and loved the role [of flag bearer],” she said.

“It makes me feel as though it’s more a reward for the things that I have achieved and how I’ve gone about it and who I am. I’m really proud of all that, I’m proud to be team captain.

“Unfortunately sport delivers highs and lows and the Olympic games is the Olympic games. I always go out to win, so does every other bastard in the world too.”

Asked what she planned to do next, she responded: “A holiday, some chocolate and a mighty strong glass of rum.”

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She gave her heartfelt thanks to her coach, her family and friends and finally the Australian people.

Meares with her coach and her Rio bronze:

Me and my coach GW #greatman #greatcoach #thankyou

A photo posted by Anna Meares (@annameares) on

“Thank you. I’m a big girl now but I once was a little girl who just had a dream and I’ve lived that dream for 22 years,” she said.

Thank you, Anna, you legend.

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