Published Thursday 31 May 2012


Alison Shanks was born in 1982 in Dunedin, which she still calls home. While studying marketing and human nutrition at Otago University, Ali represented Otago in both basketball and netball. She started cycling in 2005, the same year she graduated from university.

The next year, Ali qualified for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, where she placed fourth in the individual pursuit. Since then, she has been the New Zealand and Oceania individual pursuit champion multiple times.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Ali was defeated in the individual pursuit bronze medal match. This meant she placed fourth overall.

In 2009, Ali had a great season, lowering her personal best and becoming the individual pursuit world champion. She followed this up with a Gold Medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Because there is no individual pursuit event at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Ali’s goal is to make the New Zealand women’s team for the Teams Pursuit for this Olympic Games.

Alison Shanks’s ambition is “to go faster than ever before”.

Career highlights

2011: Season individual pursuit • 2nd, World Championships, March, Holland 1st, New Zealand Track Nationals, February, Invercargill 1st, World Cup, December, Columbia.

Teams pursuit • 2011 World Cup Series Champions 3rd, World Championships, March, Holland 2nd, World Cup, February, Great Britain 1st, World Cup, December, Columbia.

2010: Gold Medal in individual pursuit at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

2009: Track cycling individual pursuit world champion.

Related Resources

Rob Waddell Chat

Chat with a Champion: Interview with Rob Waddell, Olympic Rower, Gold Medallist.

Nick Willis Chat

Chat with a Champion: Interview with Nick Willis, Olympic Athlete, Silver medallist

Rebecca Wardell Chat

Chat with a Champion: Interview with Rebecca Wardell, Olympic heptathlete