Victoria Pendleton

Victoria Louise Pendleton, CBE (born 24 September 1980) is a British jockey and former track cyclist who specialised in the sprint, team sprint and keirin disciplines. She is a former Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion. With two Olympic gold medals and one silver, Pendleton is one of Great Britain's most successful female Olympians.

Victoria Pendleton
Victoria Pendleton 2011.jpg
Pendleton in 2011
Personal information
Full nameVictoria Louise Pendleton
NicknameQueen Victoria[1][2]
Born (1980-09-24) 24 September 1980 (age 41)[3][4]
Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England
Height1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)[3]
Weight62 kg (137 lb; 9.8 st)[3]
Team information
Current teamRetired
Rider typeSprinter
Amateur teams
1988–2004Mildenhall Cycling Club
2005VC St Raphael
Professional teams
2006–2007Science in Sport / Trek
2008–2012Sky Track Cycling

Pendleton represented Great Britain and England in international cycling competition, winning nine world titles including a record six in the individual sprint, dominating the event between 2005 and 2012. In 2008 she won the sprint in the Beijing Olympics, and in 2012, she won the gold medal in the keirin at the London Olympics, as well as silver in the sprint.

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours[5] and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to cycling.[6][7] As a gold medalist at European, World and Olympic level, Pendleton is also a member of the European Cycling Union Hall of Fame.

Early lifeEdit

Pendleton and her twin brother Alex were born on 24 September 1980 at Stotfold, Bedfordshire, England, to Max Pendleton, a keen cyclist and former British National 8 km grass track cycling champion, and Pauline Viney.[citation needed] She has an older sister, Nicola Jane.[8]


Early yearsEdit

Pendleton rode her first race, a 400m event on the grass track at Mildenhall Cycling Club's[9] Fordham Sports Day and Grass-Track meeting at nine. Pendleton showed her promise at 13 and was spotted three years later by the assistant national track coach, Marshal Thomas. At that time she wanted to concentrate on her education at Fearnhill School in Letchworth Garden City, and later a degree in Sport and Exercise Science by Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. She enjoyed some success on the track as a student before graduating and becoming a full-time cyclist.[10]

Journey to the topEdit

Pendleton won one bronze and three silver medals in the British National Track Championships in 2001, while still a student. Between 2002 and 2004 she was a trainee at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland.[11] She qualified for the 2002 Commonwealth Games team, finishing fourth in the sprint. She again came fourth in the sprint at the 2003 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart and the 2004 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne. She ranked 2nd overall in the World Cup for the sprint in 2004, winning the World Cup event in Manchester.

At the 2004 Summer Olympics, she finished sixth in the time trial and ninth in the 200 m sprint.

Pendleton won her first major medal with gold in the sprint at the 2005 UCI Track Cycling World Championships. She became the third British woman to become a cycling world champion in 40 years.[12]

At the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, she won silver in the 500 m time trial and gold in the sprint.

At the 2007 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, she won the team sprint with Shanaze Reade, the individual gold in the sprint, and a third gold in the keirin.[13] She crowned the year by being named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year for 2007, becoming the first cyclist to win the award in its 20-year history.[14] Pendleton was also voted Sports Journalists' Association's sportswoman of the year for 2007.[15]

Pendleton celebrates winning the sprint at the 2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships

During her build-up to the Olympics she won two gold medals at the 2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in the sprint,[16] and the team sprint, again with Reade.[17] She was also second in the keirin.[18] At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Pendleton won the gold medal in the sprint.[19]

She retained her title in the sprint at the 2009 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Pruszków. Each sprint was so closely matched it required several photos, leaving Pendleton emotional but victorious over her Dutch opponent, Willy Kanis.[20]

At the 2011 UCI Track Cycling World Championships Pendleton won a silver in the team sprint, a bronze medal in the sprint and finished seventh in the keirin.[21] Partnering Jess Varnish, Pendleton won the team sprint in her only event at the British Championships.[22] At the 2011 European Track Championships Pendleton won the team sprint[23] and keirin titles, but only came eighth in the sprint.[24]

In February 2012 Pendleton and Varnish set a new world team sprint record of 32.754 seconds, beating Kaarle McCulloch and Anna Meares of Australia at the Track World Cup in the London Velodrome.[25] In the sprint and the keirin Pendleton came 4th and 5th respectively.[26][27] In Pendleton's final 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships she won the sprint, her sixth title. She fell in the first heat of the semi-final against Meares. In the second heat Meares was relegated for going outside her lane. In the decider Pendleton won in a photo finish before defeating Simona Krupeckaite, winning 2–0 with the second win coming from another relegation.[28] Pendleton finished without medals in her other two events.[29][30]

Pendleton celebrates winning the keirin at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Pendleton and Varnish broke the world record in the qualifying stages of the team sprint before being relegated in the semi-finals.[31] She recovered to win a gold medal in the keirin.[32] Pendleton set a new Olympic record of 10.724 seconds in the qualifiers of the sprint[33] but lost in the final to Anna Meares, after being controversially relegated[34] in the first run and being beaten in the second run, earning a silver medal. This would be Pendleton's final competitive race as she retired from professional cycling.[35]

Horse racingEdit

In March 2015, Pendleton announced her intention to become a jockey with the aim of competing at the Foxhunter Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, with guidance from horse trainer Paul Nicholls.[36] She made her competitive debut in August 2015, finishing second in the Betfair Novice Flat Amateur Riders' Handicap at Ripon riding Royal Etiquette.[37] She won her first race on 2 March 2016, guiding 5–4 favourite Pacha Du Polder to victory at Wincanton.[38]

On 18 March 2016, Pendleton, again riding Pacha Du Polder, achieved her ambition of participating in the 2016 Foxhunter Chase, at Cheltenham, outperforming many pundits' expectations by finishing fifth. She described the result as "probably the greatest achievement of my life".[39]

Outside sportEdit

Gold postbox in honour of Pendleton in Stotfold

Pendleton featured on the cover of the July 2009 issue of men's magazine FHM.[40] She featured in the January 2012 issue of Harper's Bazaar magazine.[41] In February 2012, Halfords released a Pendleton branded range of women's bikes including the Somerton (a city bike), the Initial (a road bicycle) the Brooke and the Dalby (both hybrid bikes) on which Pendleton herself had worked as a design consultant.[42] She was a "brand ambassador" for Pantene hair-care products in the advent to London 2012.[43] She was the subject of a BBC television programme which first aired in July.[44]

Pendleton was a contestant on series 10 of Strictly Come Dancing,[45] in which her professional partner was Brendan Cole.[46] She was the seventh of the fourteen celebrities to leave the show on 25 November.[47]

Pendleton's autobiography Between the Lines was published following her retirement in September 2012.[48][49]

At the 2014 Conservative Party Conference, Pendleton introduced the Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan before her keynote speech on 30 September, speaking about the importance of sport in education. She said, "if you want more children to leave school healthy and prepared for life in modern Britain, with everything that will be thrown at them, you might as well give them a sporting chance."[50]

In 2016 Pendleton partnered with Clinique, joining as a Difference Maker for the Clinique Difference Initiative,[51] with an aim to inspire women and support the provision of educational and healthcare support.

In May 2018 she was forced to abandon a charity Everest ascent that she was doing with TV presenter Ben Fogle at Base Camp 2 at 6400 m (20,977 ft) when she experienced hypoxia, caused by a lack of oxygen. Fogle managed to reach the summit.[52] It took her three weeks of antibiotics to get over chest and ear infections.[53]

Personal lifeEdit

Pendleton's relationship with Scott Gardner, a sports scientist with the British Cycling coaching team, caused some problems for the couple, as it was felt to be unprofessional for two members of the team to be romantically involved.[54] Following the 2008 Olympics, when it became more widely known, Gardner was obliged to leave the team, though he was later re-hired. Pendleton and Gardner married in September 2013.[55] In July 2018, Pendleton announced the break up of her marriage.[56]

For her 30th birthday, Pendleton had a line from The Smashing Pumpkins' song "Today" tattooed onto her right arm.[57] In 2012, she was living in Wilmslow, Cheshire,[58] but subsequently moved to the Chilterns.[citation needed]

In 2019, Pendleton stated that she had suffered severe depression and had contemplated suicide after her failed Everest expedition, and an "unpleasant" divorce from her husband.[59][60][61]

In 2019 Pendleton competed on Channel 4's SAS Celebrity SU2C, "Who Dares, Wins" series.[62] During Covid-19 in 2020 she posted on Instagram that she was fortunate to share lockdown with Louis Tinsley, ex-SBS operator and co-founder of clothing firm ThruDark, whom she is dating.[63][60]

Pendleton was accused of creating a "toxic atmosphere" during the filming of ITV's "Don't Rock The Boat" in November 2020 by fellow crew mate Craig Charles.[64][65] Defending herself she suggested her twin brother Alex, as a man, would have been treated differently. In 2021 she co-commentated on the woman's road racing cycling final as part of the BBCs Olympic 2020 coverage as their pundit in Tokyo.[66][67]


National Track Championships
1st   Sprint
1st   500 m time trial
National Track Championships
1st   Sprint
1st   500 m time trial
1st   Keirin
1st   Scratch race
National Track Championships
1st   Sprint
1st   500 m time trial
1st   Sprint, World Track Championships
National Track Championships
1st   Sprint
1st   500 m time trial
1st   Keirin
1st   Scratch Race
Commonwealth Games
1st   Sprint
2nd   Time trial
2nd   Sprint, World Track Championships
National Track Championships
1st   Sprint
1st   500 m time trial
1st   Keirin
1st   Scratch race
1st   National Derny Championship
World Track Championships
1st   Sprint
1st   Team sprint (with Shanaze Reade)
1st   Keirin
National Track Championships
1st   Sprint
1st   500 m time trial
1st   Keirin
1st   National Derny Championship
1st   Sprint, Olympic Games
World Track Championships
1st   Sprint
1st   Team sprint (with Shanaze Reade)
2nd   Keirin
National Track Championships
1st   Sprint
1st   Team sprint (with Anna Blyth)
1st   Keirin
3rd Sprint, Grand Prix de Vitesse de Saint Denis
World Track Championships
1st   Sprint
2nd   Team sprint (with Shanaze Reade)
3rd   500 m time trial
National Track Championships
1st   500 m time trial
1st   Sprint
World Track Championships
1st   Sprint
2nd   Keirin
1st   Team sprint (with Jessica Varnish), European Track Championships
World Track Championships
2nd   Team sprint (with Jessica Varnish)
3rd   Sprint
Olympic Games
1st   Keirin
2nd   Sprint
1st   Sprint, World Track Championships

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Majendie, Matt (8 August 2012). "New track queen Laura Trott eyes Victoria Pendleton's crown". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013.
  2. ^ "'Queen Victoria' delighted to abdicate". Yahoo News. 7 August 2012.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b c "Victoria Pendleton – Olympic Record". British Olympic Association. Archived from the original on 7 February 2008.
  4. ^ "'Queen Victoria' delighted to abdicate". Yahoo News.[dead link]
  5. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 21.
  6. ^ "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 24.
  7. ^ "2013 New Year's Honoura" (PDF). Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  8. ^ Roy Stockdill (9 July 2012). "Famous family trees: Victoria Pendleton". Find My Past. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  9. ^ Mildenhall CC
  10. ^ Naughton, Philippe (6 January 2008). "Victoria Pendleton's secrets". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  11. ^ "UCI World Cycling Centre welcomes its 1000th trainee". Union Cycliste Internationale. 8 May 2015. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  12. ^ "The first British woman to win gold in the World Cycling Championships". Radio 4, Woman's Hour Interview.
  13. ^ Simon Baskett (1 April 2007). "Pendleton completes flawless worlds with third gold". Reuters. Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
  14. ^ Maul, Robert (20 November 2007). "Victoria Pendleton named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  15. ^ "Victoria Pendleton Voted Sportswoman of the Year". British Cycling. 13 December 2007. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007.
  16. ^ Williams, Ollie (6 April 2012). "Victoria Pendleton wins sprint gold despite crash". BBC Sport. Melbourne: BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Victoria Pendleton, Shanaze Reade beat China to win team sprint". BikeRadar. Future Publishing Limited. 28 March 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Jennie Reed wins keirin gold for US". BikeRadar. Future Publishing Limited. 30 March 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  19. ^ "Briton Pendleton wins sprint gold". BBC Sport. BBC. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  20. ^ Andrew Longmore (29 March 2008). "Proud Victoria Pendleton cries tears of joy". The Sunday Times. London.
  21. ^ "Aussie Meares outshines Pendleton". BBC News. 27 March 2011.
  22. ^ "Sir Chris Hoy wins second gold at the National Track Championships". BBC Sport. 1 October 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  23. ^ "British gold medals mask sprint error". BBC Sport. BBC. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  24. ^ Williams, Ollie (23 October 2011). "BBC Sport – Euro Track Cycling: Victoria Pendleton leads haul of four British golds". BBC. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  25. ^ "Track World Cup: Great Britain win two golds at Olympic Velodrome". BBC Sport. BBC. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  26. ^ "BBC Sport – Track World Cup: Sir Chris Hoy and Joanna Rowsell win gold". BBC. 18 February 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  27. ^ "BBC Sport – Track World Cup: Sir Chris Hoy storms to sprint gold in London". BBC. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  28. ^ "Track Worlds: Victoria Pendleton wins sprint gold despite crash". BBC Sport. BBC. 6 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  29. ^ "Track Worlds: Great Britain beat Australia with world record". BBC Sport. BBC. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  30. ^ "Track Worlds: Laura Trott wins omnium as Kenny beats Hoy". BBC Sport. BBC. 7 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  31. ^ Jessica Varnish: I will never watch nightmare moment when my London Olympic dream was shattered Archived 1 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  32. ^ Victoria Pendleton wins gold in the women's keirin at London 2012 Olympics Archived 1 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  33. ^ Women's Sprint : Records Archived 26 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine. London 2012 official website.
  34. ^ Meares outsprints arch-rival Pendleton[dead link]. Reuters. 7 August 2012.
  35. ^ Eddie Allen (7 August 2012).Relief for Pendleton after sprint swansong: “I can't believe it's all over” Archived 25 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  36. ^ "Victoria Pendleton wants to race at Cheltenham in 2016". 6 March 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  37. ^ "Victoria Pendleton second on competitive amateur jockey debut". 31 August 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  38. ^ "Victoria Pendleton: Olympic cyclist wins first race as a jockey". BBC Sport. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  39. ^ "Cheltenham 2016: Victoria Pendleton 'overwhelmed' with fifth place". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  40. ^ French, Paul (26 May 2009). "Victoria Pendleton changes gear for FHM!". FHM. Bauer Media Group. Archived from the original on 20 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  41. ^ "Victoria in stunning Harper's Bazaar shoot". Victoria Pendleton official website. 6 December 2011. Archived from the original on 20 April 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  42. ^ "Victoria Pendleton & Halfords Team Up For Women's Cycle Range". BikeRadar. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  43. ^ "Victoria to be the Pantene Pro V Ambassador for P&G". Victoria Pendleton official website. 30 November 2011. Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  44. ^ "Victoria Pendleton: Cycling's Golden Girl". BBC News. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  45. ^ "Olympians Victoria Pendleton and Louis Smith to dance alongside Johnny Ball and Fern Britton". London Evening Standard. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  46. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing judges praise Victoria Pendleton's 'perfect' pairing". Metro. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  47. ^ "Victoria Pendleton leaves Strictly". BBC. 25 November 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  48. ^ Bathurst, Bella (21 September 2012). "Between the Lines by Victoria Pendleton – review". The Observer. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  49. ^ Cleave, Chris (20 September 2012). "Between the Lines: The Autobiography by Victoria Pendleton with Donald McRae: review". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  50. ^ "Victoria Pendleton makes surprise Tory appearance". BBC News. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  51. ^ "Difference Makers".
  52. ^ "Victoria Pendleton leaves Everest climb on medical advice".
  53. ^ "Victoria Pendleton: 'Oxygen deprivation on Everest has left me battling depression'".
  54. ^ "Victoria Pendleton admits British Cycling friction over relationship". BBC Sport. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  55. ^ "Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton and Scott Gardner tie the knot". Hello Magazine. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  56. ^ "Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton and husband Scott Gardner separate". BBC News. 3 July 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  57. ^ Chadband, Ian (3 August 2012). "London 2012 Olympics: British cycling star Victoria Pendleton admits she 'hates' racing". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  58. ^ "My Perfect Sunday: Victoria Pendleton". The Telegraph. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  59. ^ "Victoria Pendleton: Olympic champion 'turns corner' after suicide thoughts". BBC Sport. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  60. ^ a b "The Dog House on C4: Who is Victoria Pendleton and what is she famous for?". Entertainment Daily. 29 April 2021. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  61. ^ Elton, Danielle (12 July 2021). "Channel 4's The Dog House is looking for potential adopters". CambridgeshireLive. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  62. ^ "Victoria Pendleton compares Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins to Olympics: 'It's harder'". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  63. ^ "Louis Tinsley | ThruDark Co-founder & Former SBS operator". ThruDark. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  64. ^ "Craig Charles and Victoria Pendleton clash in "toxic" Don't Rock the Boat red crew". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  65. ^ "Don't Rock the Boat: Victoria Pendleton hits back at critics". HELLO!. 5 November 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  66. ^ "All the Tokyo 2020 Olympics pundits on BBC – meet the presenters and commentators". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  67. ^ July 2021, Daniel Benson 25. "Olympics: Shock gold for Anna Kiesenhofer in women's road race". Retrieved 25 July 2021.


External linksEdit