- Sports and Recreation
UPDATE: Victoria Pendleton wins GOLD in the women's keirin at London 2012. Silver in the women's sprint.
Victoria Pendleton is a champion cyclist. She has won nine world titles and six in the individual sprint competitions - as well as a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and a second gold at the London 2012 Olympics. Victoria Pendleton is the most successful British female cyclist of all time and one of the country's biggest hopes for the London 2012 Olympics.
In one the biggest successes of her career to date, the 31-year-old won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. This saw her become the best female cyclists in the world, and one of the best British cyclists off all time. She was awarded the MBE by the Queen and repeated her glory on the track with gold and silver at London 2012. Victoria Pendleton's boyfriend is the Australian sports scientist Scott Garden.
In addition to being a world champion cyclist, Victoria is one of the most glamorous athletes in sport. She has done extensive modelling work and appeared in various men's magazines. Her photoshoots mean that she is regarded as the 'sexiest' British female athlete.
Miss Pendleton joins many other British cycling greats from her generation, including Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish. Read on for more information on how her cycling career began, what she has achieved and the modelling work she has done.
Victoria was born in Bedfordshire, England, in 1980 and developed a love of cycling from a young age. Her father, Max, was a former grass-cycling champion so the she was always close to the sport growing up. She has a twin brother, Alex, and an older sister Nicola.
As a child, Victoria won her fist race when she was just nine years old on a grass track. Within a few years her talent had been recognised by scouts, and she began track cycling. This is the disciple where cyclists basically go round and round a curved bowl inside a velodrome. In this discipline she excelled and from a young age it seemed she was destined to be a champion. Victoria continued her schooling and graduated with a University degree in Sport and Exercise science.
While she was still studying, Victoria Pendleton was also competing with the British national cycling team. In her first major victory, she won a bronze medal and three silver medals in the British National Track Championships in 2001. The following year in 2002 brought more success and she qualified for the English commonwealth cycling team. She finished fourth in the sprint, third in the same competition in 2003 and third in 2004. But at last, in her first major championship win, in 2004 she took first place the sprint World Cup in Manchester. A just reward for the years of tough competitions.
The success in Manchester spurred on Victoria and opened the way for yet more victories as her career went from strength to strength. In 2005, aged just 23, Victoria won her first gold medal with an emphatic victory at the World Championships. This was the highlight of her career to date, and the resounding triumph made her only the third British woman to become a cycling world champion in 40 years - a statistic that shows just what a great feat it was for her. And at such a young age, it signalled that more was to come. Her career was only just beginning.
World titles and gold medals
Having enjoyed success in the early part of her career, it was becoming clear that Victoria was now one of the best cyclists in the world. Mainstream media were now beginning to notice her and see what a brilliantly prospect she was quickly becoming for British cycling. Sure enough, she didn't dissapoint, and kept bringing the world titles and gold medals.
In 2006, Victoria took a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games - one of the biggest and toughest competitions outside of the summer Olympics. Her gold medal victory was in the sprint - her specialist event - and she also won a silver in the 500m time trial. Miss Pendleton was now being marked out as a truly amazing sportswoman... and what's more the wins seemed so easy to her.
A hatrick of major gold medals followed in 2007 with an impressive victory in the team sprint with Shanaze Reade and an individual gold in the sprint (by now she practically owned this event). Miss Pendleton also took a third gold medal in the women's keirin. These momentous victories led to the cyclist being named the Sunday Times sportswoman of the year. But the biggest victory was still to come....
Victoria began 2008 with victories at a series of smaller events, taking two gold medals at the UCI Track World Championships. This was all just a build up to the biggest sporting event of the decade - the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Victoria was selected for the games as part of the British team. Whereas in 2004, still aged just 23 and with minimal experience of major international competitions, she may have been a little to young to take part in the Olympics. But by 2008 she was arguably the best female cyclist in the world, and it would have been unthinkable for her not to have been selected. And so it was that she flew to Beijing with Team GB.
Victoria standout events, the women's sprint, was always going to be tough. Many of the best athletes from around the world were taking part. But with characteristic style, she won gold in the women's individual sprint. The success threw her into the limelight and she was awarded the MBE medal from Queen Elizabeth II.
By 2012, Victoria had set a new world record in the team sprint with Jess Varnish. The year has been mainly about focusing on the London 2012. She is determined to win gold in her home country. And although taking part at the age of 31 when many competitors are younger than her, Miss Pendleton has the experience to succeed.
Victoria won gold in the women's keirin. She was disqualified in the women's team sprint final with partner Jess Varnish after overtaking outside the designated area.
Victoria Pendleton has had untold successes in sport, but she has also become one of the most glamorous athletes in the world. Being photographed and interviewed so often by newspapers and magazines, has seen her become just as adept in front of the camera on a photo shoot as she is behind the handlebars of a racing bike.
Her bright blue eyes, dark brown hair and toned figure have seen her become one of the sexiest athletes in the world. Victoria has done many glamorous and seductive photo shoots, often in dresses, sometimes in underwear, once in her cycling undergarment and even in a very sexy basque.
Victoria did a photoshoot with the men's magazine FHM in the black basque in the run up to the Olympics. In the past she has also posed nude on her bike to promote the Olympics.
See more glamour pictures of Victoria at her unofficial fan site.
Victoria Pendleton's boyfriend
Victoria Pendleton's boyfriend is the Australian sports scientist Scott Gardner, whom she met when he was a Team GB cycling coach.
Their romance grew steadily, because relationships between coaches and athletes was and still is banned in Team GB. It is the same dynamic as a teacher seeing a pupil, according to an interview Victoria gave.
However, the paid admitted their feelings for each other shortly before the Beijing 2008 Games and revealed their intimacy to Team GB bosses. At this point, Victoria and Scott hadn't even been on a date, but they knew their feelings for each other were deep, and so they agreed that Scott would leave Team GB after the Olympics so they could give their relationship a go.
Four years later and the couple are still together, Scott has been Victoria's coach for the London 2012 Games and has been invited back to Team GB. Victoria Pendleton now plans to marry her boyfriend after retiring from cycling.