Two golds for Matthew Glaetzer in rollercoaster Birmingham campaign
Matthew Glaetzer has triumphed over adversity to win two gold medals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
On day one at the Lee Valley VeloPark, Glaetzer struck gold alongside his teammates, fellow SASI graduate Leigh Hoffman and SA based Matthew Richardson in the Men’s Team Sprint.
The trio set a new Commonwealth Games record with a time of 42.040, beating England in the final by 1.332 seconds.
In a remarkable feat, this was the veteran cyclist’s fourth Commonwealth Games gold medal at his first Games back after recovering from thyroid cancer.
"It really does mean extra for me," Glaetzer said.
"It's been a tough couple of years, but I knew I was capable and wanted to deliver some more medals for Australia."
Glaetzer was a favourite to earn another gold on day two, but his dream of winning three consecutive gold medals in the Keirin event was shattered after colliding with England’s Joe Truman which left both riders injured.
"The right side of my body was just on fire from the burns - had to just grimace through this morning and see what I've got in the body," Glaetzer said.
"I definitely did take a souvenir - had to get the scalpel out to get it [a splinter] out, it went pretty deep into my elbow.
"Not nice, it's the brutal part of our sport. Make one mistake and you're eating wood."
The 29-year-old left the velodrome in dramatic fashion but showed immense bravery competing in the Men’s Sprint the following day.
On his return to the track for the Sprint event, Glaetzer was initially awarded third place but controversy followed when he was relegated to fourth on review of the incident that occurred during a side-by-side dual with Scotland’s Jack Carlin.
"You never can perform the same after a crash as bad as that. I had to dig so deep today, and I'm shattered because I just gave it everything to try to get a result - and that's why this bronze feels so big for me," Glaetzer said before learning of his relegation.
The drama continued on day four when AusCycling determined the pursuit bars set to be used in the Men’s 1000m Time Trial could not be used safely.
Going into the time trial, this decision meant Glaetzer would have to use a less aerodynamic drop bar, likely to result in marginally slower times.
Despite the last-minute change to his equipment, Glaetzer rose above the rest to bring home yet another gold medal.
"To be honest, my goal was to go sub-59 (seconds) here but when we lost the bars it was like, well, I’ll just have to go sub-minute on sprint bars,” the gold medal winner said.
"And it turns out that’s what got the job done. So happy, this is awesome and what a way to finish."
Glaetzer defended his Commonwealth Games title from four years ago, beating his teammate and fellow South Aussie, Thomas Cornish.
"Today was tough - I'm surprised I went that fast to be honest," Glaetzer said.
“I felt terrible with two to go, I was like 'oh dear', but I knew I had one last ride.
“I’ve been there before, having to come back from disappointment.
“It's just credit to show no matter what happens you can always go again.”
After snagging his fifth gold at the Commonwealth Games, Glaetzer now ties the Australian record holder Anna Meares for the most Commonwealth Games cycling track gold medals.
What an outstanding and courageous campaign in Birmingham 2022 for Matthew Glaetzer!