Why Vicky Pendleton didn’t enjoy competing

Vicky Pendleton once said that while she enjoyed training, she hated competition. Some people couldn’t get their heads around this. Surely winning things was the good bit?

Well, look at it this way. She has just retired from cycling having won a gold medal and a silver medal and the BBC say:

“Victoria Pendleton’s career ends in disappointment as she is beaten by Anna Meares in the women’s individual sprint final.”

Imagine living with that. Perfection is considered a success, but anything less is a disappointment. Imagine going out to ride again and again in the knowledge that the odds are very heavily stacked in favour of your leaving everyone feeling disappointed.

Vicky Pendleton was a brilliant cyclist – an almost unparalleled success – and for confronting that situation so many times, she is also one of the bravest and most admirable sports competitors I can think of.