The Olympic and World Track Champion was once described by her French Canadian coach as being “too skinny and too puny to be a sprint cyclist.” Victoria has gone onto become one of the world’s best female cyclists, after seven world titles and golds in Beijing and in London. In Q&A she talks about the immense physical and psychological challenges faced by elite athletes, and the lessons from her new career as a jockey.
The Olympic and World Track Champion was once described by her French Canadian coach as being “too skinny and too puny to be a sprint cyclist.” Victoria Pendleton has gone onto become one of the world’s best female cyclists and one of Britain’s most successful Olympians, after seven world titles and two gold medals in Beijing and in London.
Victoria first set her sights on Athens, but failed to fulfil her ambitions despite a rigourous training regime. She refused to let the setback deter her. Instead she learned from her mistakes, returned even more determined, and went onto be crowned World Champion a year later. It was the foundation for a successful career that saw her become a key part of the all-conquering TeamGB cycling squad.
After taking gold and silver at London 2012, Victoria left the track behind. She competed in Strictly Come Dancing and appeared in ITV’s Emmerdale marking the start of Tour de France in Yorkshire. Perhaps most surprisingly, Victoria then announced that she was returning to sport, but this time on a horse rather than bicycle. Working her way through the novice ranks she rode at the prestigious Cheltenham Festival, defying the expectation of many and marking what she described as "probably the greatest achievement of my life".
In Q&A Victoria talks about the immense physical and psychological challenges faced by elite athletes, and the preparation and attitude needed to reach the top. She reflects on her career, the highs and lows, the successes and mistakes, and what it took to start all over again in a new sport.
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