Muenzer, Lori-AnnLori-Ann Muenzer, cyclist (b at Edmonton, Alta 21 May 1966). Lori-Ann Muenzer is the first Canadian to win a gold medal in CYCLING at an OLYMPIC GAMES. Her first 10-speed was a "fixer-upper" given to her by her grandfather, and she recalls racing up and down the streets of her hometown, Edmonton. She began her career as an elite cyclist in 1993, but her early career was plagued by injury, which cost her a spot on the COMMONWEALTH GAMES team in 1994. In 1999, she nearly ended her cycling career when she plunged off a 20-foot cliff while mountain biking.
After these setbacks, Lori-Ann Muenzer's career began to flourish. She won several medals in international competition, including two silver and two bronze medals at the World Track Cycling Championships, and one silver and two bronze at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games. She made her Olympic debut for Canada at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, placing in the top ten. In 2004, her goal of competing at Athens was realized when she defeated Tanya Dubnicoff in the 500-metre event at the Olympic Trials, earning her a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. All the while, Muenzer balanced her cycling career with a position as a legal secretary in Edmonton.
At age 38, Lori-Ann Muenzer was the oldest cyclist in the Olympic field at Athens, publicly claiming that her age made her both stronger and wiser. After defeating Anna Meares of Australia, she was pitted against 21-year-old Russian Tamilla Abassova in the finals for the gold medal. Muenzer overtook Abassova late in the first race, and the two raced closely in the second at a speed of just more than 59 km/h, with Muenzer finishing first.
Although she began her athletic career later than most elite athletes, Lori-Ann Muenzer has accumulated 13 National titles and 11 World Cup medals and has become Canada's most decorated cyclist. Lori-Ann Muenzer was named the 2004 Canadian Press & Broadcast News' Female Athlete of the Year, inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, and received the 2005 Tribute to Women of Distinction "Honourable Lois E. HOLE Award for Lifetime Achievement" by the YWCA. She is the subject of an Edmonton-based documentary film.