Despite having cycling in her genes (her dad has represented Britain in grass-cycling), Victoria Pendleton wasn’t always an obvious champ. Her mum Pauline remembers not realising that she was a particular cycling talent at the start.
“Her father raced for many years and the rest of the family followed in his footsteps. I personally never realised she had particular talent on the bicycle,” admits her mum Pauline. But she started to twig when “very often she beat her brother”.
Though Victoria’s a record breaker and world champion, her mum always tried to remind her that as long as she did her best that was good enough. Pauline remembers her disappointment after the 2004 Olympics, where she missed out on the podium.
“When she got home she got very upset,” Pauline recalls. “She threw the racing kit that she had used into the dust bin. I thought that was a little bit drastic so I retrieved it from the wheelie bin, washed it and kept it as a memento for her.
“We try to point out to her that whenever she does have a little set back, you can only do your best.”
And despite hoping to seeing her daughter on the podium in London, Pauline admits she’ll be happy when Victoria’s Olympic journey is over and she can do some ‘normal’ life things such as getting married.
“When Victoria’s not racing any more I will be absolutely delighted. I won’t ever have to go through that thumping heart and head nearly exploding. I shall be very pleased for her because she will have more of a normal life, all the things that she’s put off over the past few years.
“If she was on the podium with gold, I will be ecstatic, relieved and probably I’ll cry.”
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