Stephanie Morton (R) has been urged to embrace the pressure but not try to be the next Anna Meares.Cycling ‘s high performance director Simon Jones says Stephanie Morton must embrace the pressure of expectation but not try to become the next Anna Meares.
The 27-year-old is poised to take on the mantle of the retired sprint queen as begins a rescue mission under the former British Cycling and Team Sky coach.
Morton finished the track nationals at Anna Meares Velodrome on Sunday with three gold medals despite continuing to train in the gym as usual on the morning of events.
She will be a key part of the Commonwealth Games team when it is named later this month.
A two-time silver medallist at last year’s world championships, Morton and teammate Kaarle McCulloch have already set their sights on team sprint gold at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
After their worst performance in six Olympics at Rio, wants to win four track cycling gold medals in Tokyo.
Morton is central to those plans and Jones is not scared to talk numbers when it comes to medal expectations.
But he says the South n, who made her debut for as a pilot rider in the para-cycling world championships, need not compare herself to the two-time Olympic champion and owner of five Olympic medals.
“That’s good, she has to accept that (pressure). If we want to be successful we can’t pretend we’re the underdogs,” Jones said.
“But it (comparisons to Meares) doesn’t really help, to be honest.
“The message we’re trying to provide is to only worry about things you can control and think logically, so that to me is an illogical way of presenting it.
“She’s Steph Morton and I want her to be the best Steph Morton she can be, not Anna Meares.”
Morton began her track career racing with and against Meares, first beating her in 2014 and repeating that effort later in the year to claim gold in the sprint at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
“It’s funny … training and racing with her, you know her well and you have to sit back and go, ‘She’s actually really bloody good’,” Morton said of the woman the new Brisbane velodrome is named after.
“A lot of people like to compare us but we’re two completely different athletes with different journeys.”
The only thing Morton will be trying to copy is Meares’ approach to the next crop.
“Anna gave me a good benchmark, so hopefully I can try and set a standard for the other girls as well,” he said.