Victoria Pendleton joins Strictly Come Dancing

Star of the track talks dance moves and divorce... from British Cycling that is

by Sarah Barth   September 11, 2012  

Pendleton Strictly Come Dancing - BBC photo

She's unclipped from the pedals for the last time, and now she's reaching for her ballet pumps.

http://road.cc/content/news/65443-pendleton-reveals-how-pressure-forced-her-self-harmingThe queen of the track, Victoria Pendleton, is to join the cast of Strictly Come Dancing, the Saurday night family entertainment dance show.

She's made no secret of her relief at her retirement from pro cycling, which coincides with the publication of her autobigraphy, 'Between the Lines'.

If you're interested in seeing Pendleton's 'Celebrity unveil' for Strictly, you can click here. Spoiler alert, she goes into her first childhood memory, and what she'd do if she was invisible for the day. It's gripping stuff.

She's not the only Olympian joining in - Louis Smith, the gymnast is also in the line-up. But where Pendleton rates her dance moves as '0.5 out of 10,' we're guessing Smith is rather more snake-hipped.

She said: "With my wedding coming up expectations will be very high now for our first dance! My fiance Scott is already feeling the pressure, but I reckon Scott’s quite good; he has more dance skills already than I have currently.

"Retiring after the Olympics was always going to be a bit hard to follow, and knowing what it’s like post competition when you feel a bit lost and a bit ‘what do I do now?’ having something to focus on whether the result was good or bad at the Olympics was a great thing to do."

In an interview with The Guardian at the weekend, Pendleton spoke of her divorce from British Cycling, and the speed at which it had happened.

She said:"I don't imagine they'd speak to me any more, anyway, to be honest. I'm not imagining I'll have much contact with them. As it is, they've sold my bike already."

She spoke too of her relationship with Jan van Eijden, her sprint coach, who she says reacted angrily when she told him of her love affair with Scott Gardener, an Australian performance analyst who had joined the British team.

"I don't want to win because he takes the credit for it, and really I don't feel he's part of my performance, any more, in some respects. But I would never do that, because I would never compromise my end result. But these thoughts would run around my mind sometimes, when I was feeling particularly low," she said.

Much like Victoria herself, the book appears to be a brutally honest, no holds barred account of what the world of British Cycling is really like for a woman who has admitted that she was fragile enough to cut herself when the pressure got too much.

She said: "Because I have been fairly open and honest about a lot of issues – but I haven't told any lies … I was worried about British Cycling being annoyed that I've kind of, well, not talked them down, but haven't necessarily portrayed them in a glowing light ... For so many years I've had to talk about how amazing the programme is, and how well supported I am, and at times I haven't really felt 100% supported by that, but it's my job, it's what I have to say.

"And I'm still performing, so people are like – well, why are you still producing gold medals then, if it's so bad? It makes for a very difficult situation, and I don't want to be coming across as the whingy whiner, but I'm the only one to complain, so no one else has a problem."

 

22 user comments

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the song ' I'm dancing with tears in my eyes' just keeps going round and round in my mind, why ?

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [900 posts]
11th September 2012 - 8:45

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Now it's in my mind, thanks!

posted by Tonnio [34 posts]
11th September 2012 - 9:39

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bugger, and me too now ... damn that Midge Ure and
his catchy lyrics Smile

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [592 posts]
11th September 2012 - 10:00

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arrggghh - that song's going to be going around my head all day now. Can't believe he was (briefly) in Thin Lizzy too. I could never forgive him for Yellow Pearl (also used as the Top of the Pops theme in the 80s)

posted by Sadly Biggins [261 posts]
11th September 2012 - 10:29

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I appreciate that Victoria choices to use the word fragile to describe her personality and I can understand how winning can make you feel more not less fragile,the internal criticisms, self doubt and the need to keep winning because that is all that you believe makes you of value to others. But there is more to her than this yes it is news worthy and yes it is a positive message to send out there to others who have or are self harming especially as she moves on from competitive cycling and is able to expresses herself more fully.

Yet anyone that watched her race Anna Meares could see (to barrow from Nietzsche) that she had found her superman (within) her own sense of right and wrong an understanding that nothing is permanent and one did not have to except being bullied or anything else as a way of life.

I would not be surprised if working with such a person was an uncomfortable experience for British Cycling but we should not forget they like her have prospered from their association.

The true value in her story is in her own words she is "not the perfect model of what an athlete should be, mentally or physically... It's not something that comes naturally, I wasn't born with it ... If you're willing to work, you can be better". So fragile yes but never forget to mention that she worked hard to be better both physically and mentally and that what she achieved in coming to terms with her vulnerabilities (fragility) others can achieve in their lives.

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [154 posts]
11th September 2012 - 10:42

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Still won't make me watch Strictly! I would like her to win though.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2622 posts]
11th September 2012 - 11:06

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So, who's hot favourite for the individual pursuit at Rio - Darcy Bussell?

posted by Paul M [294 posts]
11th September 2012 - 12:11

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I've got 'If I was' going around now!

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [177 posts]
11th September 2012 - 12:22

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Hmmm, I'm not going to judge one way or the other, but I'm certainly not interested in the off the bike career.

Yawn

djcritchley's picture

posted by djcritchley [142 posts]
11th September 2012 - 12:45

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I wonder how hard the TV producers thought about this...

"let's see who can we put on a show that looks for tiny imperfections in a performance and draws attention to them? Perhaps someone who we know to be "fragile" and who has just gone through the stress of the Olympics, the pressures of training within a very controlled system ..."

On the other hand I doubt they gave those issues any thought at all. The only relevant thing they are likely to consider would be whether the people chosen will boost viewing figures.

Yes I'm cynical, realists usually are!

Shay

posted by shay cycles [175 posts]
11th September 2012 - 12:46

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Glad someones actually reading this as an article...lushmeister

Very well put and I totally agree, there are two sides to every story and although the reaction to her relationship was an extreme one, it was an honest one from people who werent trained on how to deal with that and infact habitually promoted ignoring the possibility of it happening which was unrealistic.

Mr B should take the grief for the reaction and BC for not putting practises into place to protect their workers and athletes but hey, this is all new to even BC, DB and the riders, there is no framework to follow for their success other than that which produces success.

I will read this book with the same open mind that I read Dave Millers story as I trust it to be frank and honest from the start.

Personally, Im happy for Vicky now and can relate to her relationship challenges in a way so understand how it turns your life upside down to be faced with that reaction.

posted by Farky [175 posts]
11th September 2012 - 12:54

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News just in... Pat McQuaid insists that Bruno Tonioli has no jurisdiction in this, and that only the UCI can judge Victoria's "American Smooth"...Oh hang on, he's changed his mind.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
11th September 2012 - 13:10

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shay cycles wrote:
"let's see who can we put on a show that looks for tiny imperfections in a performance and draws attention to them? Perhaps someone who we know to be "fragile" ...

To a certain extent fair comment - but I'm not entirely sure the level of pressure involved will be the same

posted by mad_scot_rider [519 posts]
11th September 2012 - 13:13

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Paul M wrote:
So, who's hot favourite for the individual pursuit at Rio - Darcy Bussell?

no you're talking Smile

http://road.cc/content/forum/25201-getting-tea-stop-moving-again

Not sure why she was compared to a bat though by another poster.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1186 posts]
11th September 2012 - 14:21

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interesting to read the Guardian article. I wonder how Wendy Houvenaghel was supported at BC.

You can achieve glory but at what cost, Eddy the Eagle, having a bit of fun vs the performance plan we now have with results = funding/jobs. It sounds like the pro peleton Smile

posted by kitkat [182 posts]
11th September 2012 - 16:35

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Vicky is clearly a deeply romantic woman as the whole scott saga illustrates. I find it bizarre that in the c21st a hierarchy has the sheer effrontery to tell anyone who they can and cant date - and of course 'forbidden fruit' is always more tempting. The fact that Queen Victoria performed so brilliantly at the olympics and still chose to walk away shows how dumb Brailsford and co are- I cant imagine a set of circumstances where she will have any input into the british cycling setup in the future and if she misses being involved in the sport imagine all that talent experience and drive being thrown away or worse yet snapped up by another nation.
In the short term though even though she is emotionally 'fragile' I can really see that helping in the ballroom bits of Strictly- plus as a supersexy fox who is easily the fittest (in every sense) contestant they have ever had on Strictly the Latin might be muy calliente.....Last but not least along with vicky's drive we have to factor in Scott. He has the skills that pay the bills when it comes to improving performance- and I cant see any reason why he cant apply them to dancing- in a way I feel sorry for whoever she gets as her partner cos she will have em in the rehearsal studio all day every day- slip off and have a tenner on the queen of the track to add a glitterball to her trophy cabinet

posted by Fluffywascal [2 posts]
11th September 2012 - 17:11

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Yet anyone that watched her race Anna Meares could see (to barrow from Nietzsche) that she had found her superman (within) her own sense of right and wrong an understanding that nothing is permanent and one did not have to except being bullied or anything else as a way of life.

When quoting Nietzsche always remember that he is largely regarded as a joke within philosophical circles and ended his life biting the rubber walls of an asylum.......

posted by Fluffywascal [2 posts]
11th September 2012 - 17:41

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dear oh dear, what a waste!

obviously putting more effort into being a 'celebrity' than a competitive cyclist ..

posted by Karbon Kev [653 posts]
12th September 2012 - 8:50

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Well, yes, obviously... now that she's retired, like.

Could be wrong but I'm guessing she put quite a lot of effort into gaining her nine world titles and those Olympic gold medals.

posted by Mat Brett [1725 posts]
12th September 2012 - 9:46

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notfastenough wrote:
Still won't make me watch Strictly! I would like her to win though.

You don't know what your MISSING!

Strictly is the best thing on TV - Well, apart from the cycling.

posted by Mostyn [387 posts]
12th September 2012 - 11:47

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From what I've heard about her outfit, I think I've changed my mind!

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2622 posts]
12th September 2012 - 12:15

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Interesting debate. I'll speak unsolicited for most Aussies - Victoria is held in huge regard for the enduring battles with Anna Meares. Australian cycling fans of course supported Anna - but if Anna lost to Victoria, it was sort of all right - because both gave it everything. Victoria being so open with her "fragility" makes her achievments even more inspiring. And being smoking hot - and soon to marry - she is now virtually an Australian. She can come work with Cycling Australia's kids any damn time she wants to ...

GeeTee

posted by GeeTee [5 posts]
13th September 2012 - 5:02

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