Sarah Ulmer
Ulmer at the 2002 Women's Challenge
Personal information
Full nameSarah Elizabeth Ulmer
Born (1976-03-14) 14 March 1976 (age 47)
Auckland, New Zealand
Height167 cm (5 ft 5+12 in)
Weight64 kg (141 lb; 10.1 st)
Team information
DisciplineRoad and track
Rider typePursuiter / points race / time-trialist / road racer
Medal record
Representing  New Zealand
Women's track cycling
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens Individual Pursuit
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 2002 Manchester Individual Pursuit
Gold medal – first place 1998 Kuala Lumpur Individual Pursuit
Silver medal – second place 1998 Kuala Lumpur Points Race
Silver medal – second place 1994 Victoria Individual Pursuit
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2004 Individual Pursuit
Bronze medal – third place 1999 Points Race

Sarah Elizabeth Ulmer ONZM (born 14 March 1976) is a former Olympic cyclist. She is the first New Zealander to win an Olympic cycling gold medal, which she won in the 3km individual pursuit at the 2004 Athens Olympics setting a world record.

After the 2004 Olympics, she held the Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championship Pursuit titles, and the records for those events.


Ulmer was born in Auckland, where she studied at the Diocesan School for Girls. Her grandfather Ron Ulmer was a track cyclist for New Zealand at the 1938 British Empire Games. Her father Gary was a national road and track champion.[1]

Individual pursuit races

In 1994 she won the World Junior Championship and placed second at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada with a time of 3 minutes 51 seconds.

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics she was seventh after qualifying 6th with 3m 43s.[2]

At the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur she won the gold medal with 3m 41.7s.[3]

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics she qualified 4th with 3m 36.8s and came 4th after losing the ride off for third by 0.08 of a second.[2]

At the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games she won the gold and set a games record of 3m 32.4s.[4]

In May 2004 she won the World Championship in Melbourne and set a world record of 3m 30.6s in qualifying.[5] At the Athens 2004 Olympics she broke the world record in qualifying with 3m 26.4s and took almost two seconds off that time to win the gold in the final with 3m 24.5s. Ulmer reduced the world record by six seconds. The silver and bronze medalists, Katie Mactier from Australia and Leontien Ziljaard-van Moorsel from the Netherlands, also went under the previous world record (3m 30.6s) in each of their three rides. They rode faster with each ride and rode 3m 27.6s and 3m 27.0s respectively in the finals.

In May 2010 at Aguascalientes, Mexico at an altitude of 1,870 metres (6,140 ft), American Sarah Hammer broke Ulmer's world record with a time of 3m 22.269s. As of September 2014 nine current world cycling records for distances of 4 km or less have been set at Aguascalientes.

The current world championship record of 3m 27.268s was set by fellow New Zealander, Alison Shanks in Melbourne in 2012.[6]

Other races

Ulmer did well in points races, winning a junior world championship and placing 3rd and 4th at senior world championships. She placed 2nd and 5th (twice) at Commonwealth Games.

After the 2004 Olympics she switched to road racing. The Cycling Archives website includes results for her competing in road races in the US, France, Australia, Belgium and Germany from 1999 to 2006.[7]

Other information

Ulmer trained at the velodrome in Te Awamutu. Her home town is Cambridge. Ulmer has two daughters.[1]

In the 2005 New Year Honours, Ulmer was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to cycling.[8]

Ulmer announced her retirement from cycling on 24 November 2007.[9] She attended the 2008 Olympics as a mentor.[10]

In 2011, Ulmer signed up as an 'ambassador' for the New Zealand Cycle Trail.[11]


Source:[7][12][13][14] All pursuits are 3 km individual, apart from two 2 km junior pursuits.

2nd Pursuit World Junior Championships (2km)
1st Pursuit World Junior Championships (2km)
1st Points Race World Junior Championships
2nd Pursuit Commonwealth Games
5th Points Race Commonwealth Games
1st Pursuit, National Championships
2nd Points Race, National Championships
3rd Sprint, National Championships
2nd Pursuit, Australia National Championships
1st Pursuit, Adelaide World Cup
3rd Points Race, Adelaide World Cup
1st Pursuit, Quito World Cup
1st Pursuit, Tokyo World Cup
1st Pursuit, National Championships
2nd Points Race, National Championships
7th Pursuit Atlanta Olympics
1st Pursuit Commonwealth Games
2nd Points Race Commonwealth Games
2nd Pursuit, National Championships
1st Points Race, National Championships
3rd Points Race World Championships[15]
6th Pursuit, World Championships[16]
2nd Pursuit, Texas World Cup
2nd Pursuit, Cali World Cup
4th Pursuit Sydney Olympics
8th Points Race Sydney Olympics
1st Pursuit, Cali World Cup
2nd Pursuit, Turin World Cup
1st Pursuit, Mexico City World Cup
1st National Criterium Championships
1st Stage 8 Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Féminin
1st Stage 8 Tour de Snowy
1st Pursuit National Championships
1st Points Race National Championships
1st National Criterium Championships
1st Pursuit, Sydney World Cup
1st Scratch Race, Sydney World Cup
3rd Points Race, Sydney World Cup
1st Pursuit Commonwealth Games[4]
5th Points Race Commonwealth Games[17]
4th Pursuit World Championships[18]
1st Pursuit, Mexico World Cup
1st Pursuit, Sydney World Cup
3rd Points Race, Sydney World Cup
3rd Scratch Race, Sydney World Cup
1st Pursuit, National Championships
1st Points Race, National Championships
3rd 500m Time Trial, National Championships
1st Pursuit World Championships[5]
4th Points Race World Championships
1st Pursuit, Mexico World Cup
3rd Scratch Race, Mexico World Cup
1st Pursuit, Sydney World Cup
1st Stage 4 Geelong Tour
3rd Points Race, Sydney World Cup
1st Pursuit Olympic Games
6th Points Race Olympic Games
1st National Road Race Championships
1st National Time Trial Championships
1st Road Race Oceania Games
1st Time Trial Oceania Games
1st Overall Tour of New Zealand[19]
1st Stage 1 & 4
1st World Cup Road Race Wellington[20]
6th Overall Geelong Tour
3rd National Road Race Championships

Photo gallery


  1. ^ a b "Life focus shift for first lady of speed". The Leader. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Sarah Ulmer". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020.
  3. ^ "1998 Commonwealth Games Track Competition Malaysia, Women's 3000m Pursuit" 16–19 September 1998
  4. ^ a b "Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games Women's 3000m Individual Pursuit, Ulmer breaks Games record to win IP" Gerry McManus, 2 August 2002
  5. ^ a b "World Track Championships 2004 Melbourne Australia, Women's 3000m Individual Pursuit qualifying, Ulmer takes world record" 27 May 2004
  6. ^ Track Cycling World Championships 2014 to 1893 Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  7. ^ a b Sarah Ulmer profile
  8. ^ New Year Honours List 2005 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  9. ^ Ulmer hangs up the bike TVNZ News, 27 November 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  10. ^ "Sarah Ulmer". New Zealand Olympic Committee.[dead link]
  11. ^ "PM Announces Sarah Ulmer As Cycle Trail Ambassador". Voxy. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  12. ^ Track Cycling - Sarah Ulmer
  13. ^ An interview with Sarah Ulmer 2003
  14. ^ Sarah Ulmer's Page
  15. ^ "1999 World Track Championships Germany, Women's Points Race" 24 October 1999
  16. ^ "1999 World Track Championships Germany, Women's Individual Pursuit" 21 October 1999
  17. ^ "Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games Women's Points Race" 30 July 2002
  18. ^ "2003 World Track Championships Germany, Women's Individual Pursuit" 2 August 2003
  19. ^ Tour of New Zealand 2006 4 March 2006
  20. ^ Sarah Ulmer takes brilliant victory 2006 Archived 11 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine 5 March 2006
Awards Preceded bySusan Devoy New Zealand's Sportswoman of the Year 19942004 Succeeded byMarnie McGuire Preceded byIrene van Dyk Succeeded byKate McIlroy Preceded bySilver Ferns Halberg Awards – Supreme Award 2004 Succeeded byMichael Campbell Preceded byBlyth Tait Lonsdale Cup of the New Zealand Olympic Committee 20022004 Succeeded byCaroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell Preceded byCaroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell Succeeded by1982 rowing eight