People often ask questions like: “Who is your idol?”. I don’t have any true idols, but yes I do find inspiration in some people. Sarah Ulmer is one such person. A New Zealand track cyclist legend, Sarah Ulmer broke the world record in the qualifying event for the women’s 3km pursuit time trial competition. She then came back to smash the world record during the race. Announcing her retirement from professional cycling in November 2007, Sarah Ulmer now focuses on her own online business, after launching sarahulmerbrand. This is a very comprehensive website with its own line of clothing plus lots of other quality content for cyclists.
Her achievements are many; here are a list of accomplishments (Source: famous New Zealanders):
- In 1994 she won the junior world titles in Ecuador for the individual pursuit and the points race, aged 18 years.
- Later in 1994 Sarah won the silver medal for the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, and was named Sportswoman of the Year.
- She went on to finish seventh in the 3000 metres individual pursuit at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, in a time which in the previous games would have given her a silver medal.
- Sarah won her first Commonwealth Games gold medal at Kuala Lumpur in 1998, and came second in the points race. She just missed out on a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics two years later. It was later revealed that she had had abdominal surgery just before the games, but Sarah would not use her state of health as an excuse for her performance on the track.
- Sarah retained her Commonwealth Games title at Manchester in 2002, where she was also captain of the New Zealand team. She was also awarded the 2002 Lonsdale Cup which is given by the New Zealand Olympic Committee for the most outstanding contribution to an Olympic or Commonwealth Games sport in that year.
- In May 2004 she won the 3000 metre individual pursuit world championship at Melbourne in a world record time of 3 minutes 30.64 seconds.
- Ulmer went to the Athens 2004 Olympics to compete in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit. She broke the world record in qualifying with a time of 3 min 26.4 s. She astounded the spectators when in dominating the final on August 22 she slashed almost two full seconds off that time when recording 3 min 24.537 s to win the gold medal and set a new world record time. It was subsequently revealed that while training in Europe for the Athens event, Ulmer had broken the world record more than once, but this was deliberately not made public to reduce the pressure on her from the media. Ulmer reduced the world record by more than six seconds on the Athens track! (Source: wikipedia)
- In 2004 Sarah launched an annual Auckland fun ride for women and children, called the Bike Day Out. In 2005 the event was renamed the SUB Ride, after she launched the Sarah Ulmer Brand cycles and clothing, and attracted 1800 participants.
- After her performances at the Athens Olympic Games, Sarah Ulmer was named the 2005 Halberg Sportsperson of the Year, and was awarded the Lonsdale Cup for the second time.
- She won the Wellington World Cup road cycling event in March 2006, taking the lead in the race with 20 laps to go.
- Sarah is currently a Sport Ambassador for SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand), running 3-4 hour sessions with students to work on goals, motivation, time management, fair play and other tools needed to succeed as a top athlete.