Sarah Ulmer became the first New Zealand to win an Olympic cycling gold when she was victorious in the women’s individual pursuit in Athens in 2004. She was the daughter of a New Zealand champion road cyclist of the 1950s, Gary, whose father Ron competed in track cycling at the Empire Games in Sydney in 1938. As an 18-year-old, Ulmer won the pursuit and points race at the junior world championships in Ecuador and was second in the pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada. She won the pursuit gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and 2002. Ulmer was seventh in the pursuit at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 and fourth in Sydney in 2000 when an abdominal complaint hampered her preparation. She set a world record for the pursuit when winning the world title in Melbourne in 2004 and further reduced the record in qualifying in Athens, and again in the final when she recorded 3:24.537.