Victoria Pendleton, born 24 September 1980 in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom is a track cyclist who specialises in the sprint. Pendleton has represented Great Britain and England in international competition, winning nine world titles including a record six in the individual sprint competition. Pendleton is the reigning Olympic and World Champion for the sprint. In addition Pendleton is a former European and Commonwealth champion. Her father, Max, was also a British national grass-track cycling champion. Pendleton rode her first race, a 400 meter event on the grass track at Fordham at age nine. Pendleton showed her promise at age 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, graduating from Fearnhill School in Letchworth Garden City, and later awarded 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
Pendleton won one bronze and three silver medals in the British National Track Championships in 2001, while still a student. In 2002, she qualified for the England Commonwealth Games team, finishing fourth in the sprint. She again came fourth in the sprint at the 2003 world championships in Stuttgart and the 2004 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 women's 200 meter sprint. At the 2005 World Championships, Pendleton won her first major medal with gold in the women's sprint. She became the third British woman to become a cycling world champion in 40 years.
At the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, she won silver in the 500m time trial and gold in the sprint. At the 2007 UCI Track World Championships, she won the team sprint with Shanaze Reade, the individual gold in the women's sprint, and a third gold in the women's Keirin. 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. Pendleton was also voted Sports Journalists' Association of Great Britain's sportswoman of the year for 2007. During her build-up to the Olympics she won two gold medals at the 2008 UCI Track World Championships in the women's sprint, and the women's team sprint (again with Shanaze Reade); she was also second in the women's keirin. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Pendleton won the gold medal in the Women's Individual Sprint Event.
Pendleton was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours. She retained her world sprint title at the 2009 UCI Track 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. At the 2011 World Championships Pendleton won a silver and bronze medal in the team sprint and sprint and finished seventh in the keirin. Partnering Jess Varnish, Pendleton won the team sprint in her only event at the British Championships. At the European Championships Pendleton won the team sprint and Keirin titles, but only came eighth in the sprint.
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 Olympic Velodrome. In the sprint and the keirin Pendleton came 4th and 5th respectively. In Pendleton's final World Championships in Melbourne she won her sixth World Sprint Championship. 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.Pendleton finished without medals in her other two events. In July 2009, Pendleton appeared on the cover of men's magazine FHM. Pendelton is engaged to Scott Gardner, a former sports scientist with the British Cycling coaching team.
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