London 2012: Victoria Pendleton’s dreams made possible by her mother

Victoria Pendleton's mother, Pauline, explains what it was like to raise Britain’s most successful female track cyclist of all time

Victoria Pendleton is Britain’s most successful female track cyclist of all time, but had it not been for mum Pauline rummaging through the bins it might have never happened.

With an Olympic sprint title, nine world gold medals, two European crowns and a Commonwealth Games victory under her belt, Pendleton has long been a star on two wheels.

However, the first of these came in the sprint at the 2005 World Championships in Los Angeles and Pendleton almost didn’t even board the plane to America in the first place.

The 31-year-old’s first experience of the Olympic atmosphere left a bad taste in her mouth as at the Athens Games in 2004 she finished sixth in the time trial and ninth in the women’s 200m sprint.

This prompted a distraught Pendleton to question her future on the bike, but on the eve of potentially starring at a home Games, she will be thankful to mum Pauline for not letting her throw it all away – literally.

“Well leading up to the 2004 Olympics in Athens I think Victoria had been hoping that she might in fact make the podium in some way or form, but unfortunately her hopes were dashed,” Pauline said.

“When she got home she was very upset obviously, very emotional and she threw the racing kit that she’d used into the dustbin.

“I felt that was a little bit drastic and I retrieved it from the wheely bin to wash it and keep it as a momento for her.

“We try and point out to her whenever she has a little set back that y’know you can only ever do your best.

“She’s always been very determined. She’ll give you 100 per cent whatever she does and I do respect hard work, I do respect that she’s not big headed and she’s just, just Victoria.”

As well as starring on the track, Pendleton has also never been too far away from a camera lens as she has been transformed into one of the faces of London 2012.

And with Pendleton admitting that she will hang up her lycras after this summer, mum Pauline is keeping everything crossed that her daughter bows out on the ultimate high.
“If she was on the podium [at London 2012] and had won gold I’d be ecstatic. Relieved in some respects, and probably I’ll cry,” added Pauline.

“When Victoria’s not racing anymore I shall be absolutely delighted. I won’t ever have to go through that thumping heart and head nearly exploding.

“And also I shall be very pleased for her. It will mean she will have more of a normal life. Do all the things she’s put off over the last few years, I think it’s going to be great and I’m really looking forward to possibly a marriage sometime after the Olympics.”

Watch Pauline Pendleton’s story here – the film is part of a series called Raising an Olympian from P&G, looking at what it is like to raise a world class athlete, through the eyes of their mums.

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