Victoria Pendleton

Victoria Pendleton

Victoria Pendleton had a 2012 that none of us will forget, as she acted as one of the spearheads for Team GB’s phenomenal Olympic success and made us all cheer like idiots when she claimed her gold medal.

Now she’s working with Eukanuba, after becoming a brand ambassador for the prestigious canine food brand and we talked to her about her love of dogs, her turn on the dance floor on Strictly Come Dancing and what she’s been up to since announcing her retirement.


So, tell me about your work with Eukanuba and your dogs.

I’m very passionate about my two Dobermans Stella and Mr Jonty. I go on and on and on about them and people have to tell me to shut up before I get out pictures of them. They were given to me by Steve Peters as a present to help me have another element in my life to prepare for the Olympics.

He thought it would help me in my recovery time to have something other than cycling. I’ve always wanted dogs and this was a breed I was particularly interested in, so he arranged it all as a nice surprise for me.

I’d worked with Procter and Gamble in the lead up to the Olympics and they make Eukanuba with is a dog food that I’d always fed them since they were puppies. That’s mainly because my fiancé Scot used to work in a pet shop when he was at university and he knew all about dry food and the health benefits of a great quality food like Eukanuba.

Where did the name Mr Jonty come from?

Well, he was Jonty, but if you met him and saw the way he sits with his nose in the air, he’s got a very aristocratic look about him. So I put ‘Mister’ in front of it like Mr Darcy and it suits him. When you meet him, you understand.

You’re going to be going to Crufts with Eukanuba too. Are you excited about that?

I am yeah! I love watching Crufts of the television, especially the agility tests, I find them very impressive. I’ve been to other dog shows before, but I’ve never been to Crufts, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Any thoughts of competing yourself?

No, unfortunately neither Stella nor Mr Jonty have gotten the skills and their both actually a little too big for the breed. They wouldn’t make show dogs, they’re a bit too tall. In my opinion they’re beautiful.

We last saw you on our screens on Strictly. What was that like and how did it compare to cycling?

It didn’t really. I guess lycra’s the only constant. They both involve wearing a lot of brightly coloured lycra and that’s about it really. That was a really fun experience, I thought it would be something good to do in the meantime between the Olympics and normal life. I really enjoyed the dressing up, the makeup and the hair. It was hard to do though; I was utterly physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted going into it but I’m glad I did.

You’ve retired from cycling now, so how have you been adjusting to normal life?

Well, basically I’ve just been on a massive skiing holiday, that’s the way to do it! Just go on active holidays. I went to Australia and did a three day hike with my fiancé through the wilderness which was nice. These are things I’ve never been allowed to do before.

I’m really enjoying having freedom now. I love sport and will do just about anything. Someone said they’d had a go at skiing of a mountain with a parachute, and that sounds great! I’ve actually just started running, which had been banned for so long. So I’ve started going for runs with the dogs, which is something only Scott’s been able to do before.

The World Championships just took place, what was it like looking from the outside?

It was strange to watch it from the outside. When you see the athletes sitting there before they go to the line, I can still remember that feeling, those nerves are fresh in my mind and I just go ‘No, don’t need that, thanks. You can keep it’ (laughs).

Do you think that the new crop can carry on the success that you enjoyed?

I think so. When I first broke into that team, it was very small and very successful, as they were the only ones who could fund themselves and keep doing what they do. Training with the best in the world really gave me a felling of the possibilities.

I was training with Chris Hoy and he’d been both a world and Olympic champion and thought, if I train the same way they do then maybe I can do that someday. It felt like an open door, you world with people who’ve already done it and it makes it feel more tangible so I think that will come through again.

You released your autobiography last year too, so what’s the response been like to that?

I had an amazing response to my autobiography, it actually went into reprint on the first day of sale, so that’s a pretty good start. I’ve had really positive feedback, especially from women who can relate to some of the things I talk about in the book.

I’m really pleased with it. I wondered if it was going to be too stressful to do, but Don McRae was great to work with, he met up with me in all kinds of places to help me get it together. I was really lucky to have such an understanding co-writer.

I know you’ve been asked this a million times, but what was it like standing on the top of that podium at London 2012?

Ridiculous. Nothing is ever going to compare, it was such an emotional feeling and a real high. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how intense that moment was and it was a really fitting way to end a career. Nothing will compare for me, not in my life anyway. I guess having children will be pretty special, but it would take something that big to beat it.

So finishing off, what’s next for you then?

Not anything major really, except getting married! That’s the most important thing, I’m getting married in August and I can’t wait. I’m really taking my time to decide my next direction and what I want to do. I’d really like to be a part of creating the legacy of London, maybe developing women’s sport or something like that, that’s very appealing to me. I just need to work out what my next goal is going to be.