The now retired British track cyclist Victoria Pendleton is one of the most successful female sprinters in the sport’s history. Over the course of her career she has won three Olympic and two Commonwealth medals as well as numerous titles at the National and World Track Championships. Though the individual Sprint was her specialty discipline, she also claimed multiple victories in the Team Sprint, Keirin and Time Trial events. Between 2005 and 2012 Pendleton was arguably the most dominant rider in her field.
Pendleton was born in Bedfordshire in September 1980. Her father, a former competitive cyclist, encouraged her towards the sport from a young age; she claims that she began cycling shortly after learning to walk. Though spotted at the age of sixteen by a national track team coach, Pendleton couldn’t be convinced to sideline her education and it was only following university graduation that she began to focus fully on her sport. In 2002 and 2003 she claimed six National titles and spent two seasons at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland in the run up to her first Commonwealth Games.
Gold at the 2005 Track Cycling World Championships was Pendleton’s first major victory and marked the start of an incredible seven-year winning streak on the track. She was disappointed in not making the finals of the Team Sprint in her home Olympics at London 2012, but silver in the individual Sprint and gold in the Keirin marked a fitting end to a glorious career. She was appointed a CBE in the 2013 New Years Honours list.