We chat exclusively to Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton
The lovely Victoria Pendleton found time in her busy schedule to have a chat with Marie Claire. Find out how she’s feeling now that the Olympic Games are over (sob).
Team MC are your biggest fans and we’ve loved following you during London 2012. How are you feeling now?
‘Relieved it’s all over. Totally and utterly relieved. I would’ve retired after Beijing, but obviously having a home games meant that I had to continue. But now I am done. I am so relieved I’m done. I’m looking forward to new challenges.’
What was the first thing you did once it was all over?
‘Cried! I just cried a lot and made everyone else cry unfortunately. I said I was going to give up crying after the Olympics. Maybe after the closing ceremony, that’s a good after. So I’ve got a few more days of getting emotional, if I feel like it, about everything. Because obviously saying goodbye to a whole lifestyle, an era, is quite, it’s quite a big thing. And it’s daunting at the same time. Excited and daunting.’
How heavy is a gold medal?
‘450 grams. We weighed it, because I was like, ‘It’s really heavy!’ So we weighed it on the scales. We were quite disappointed because we thought it felt heavier. We were like, ‘Oh, it must weigh at least a kilo.’ We were dreaming – it’s 450 grams exactly.’
What’s your post event wind-down regime?
‘I didn’t really have a chance. To be honest, after you’ve crossed the line at the Olympic Games it is bedlam for the next, about, five or six hours. Media, press conference, dope control; you might get some food if you’re lucky. You might see family if you’re lucky. It’s pretty full on but I’m looking forward to just getting home and relaxing. Maybe I’ll go for a facial or something like that. I’m just looking forward to doing nice things really. Definitely we’ll go shopping because I haven’t been allowed to walk around that much. So really I haven’t been shopping in ages, like a proper good shop. I’m looking forward to buying some girly clothes rather than living in a tracksuit. Although, you know it’s been really nice to wear the Olympic kit, I’m looking forward to wearing non-sports, feminine clothes.’
Will you be getting married soon?
‘I think August next year. I don’t think we could get round to sorting it any sooner than that. I want it in the summer. Someone said I should have it on the same day as I won the gold medal next year. Maybe!’
We’ve noticed that many of the Olympians competing look ridiculously glamorous. We don’t look that good after a morning in the office, let alone an Olympic heat – what are your secrets?
‘I don’t look glam! You must be talking about someone else here. Lots of concealer, that’s all I can say. Lots of concealer over the last few weeks because, obviously with all the stress, not getting enough sleep, bags under the eyes, my skin’s getting a bit dodge. For me, its concealer and mascara and a little cheek tint. Trying to look glamorous, but not feeling much like that! My best hair care tip would be: choose a range that is right for your hair structure. Working with Pantene has made me realize the importance of this and it really does make a difference. I have quite thick hair, so I use the Smooth & Sleek range.’
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Is there any food you’ve been looking forward to indulging in post Games?
‘Well actually, I feel really strongly about giving up meat. I think I might become a pescatarian. I love sushi, couldn’t give it up. I’ve been hassled for so long about putting on weight. They want me to be heavier, more muscle, more muscle, heavier, heavier, eat more, eat more. I’ve been bullied into eating on so many occasions by coaches. I mean even before the day of the keirin, my coach came in and had a go at me because I was suggesting that I might have cereal for lunch because I was feeling quite nervous and everything tasted like cardboard. And he sort of had a go at me and said go and eat something, then dragged me to the dining hall with him and so he could watch me eat! I’m not into this; I’m not into being forced to eat. I’m looking forward to eating on my time frame, when I feel like it. I’m also looking forward to never having to have a protein shake ever again. None of that fake food, I want real food! ‘
How have you found people’s reaction to you after your documentary? Were you worried about what people might think?
‘I was so nervous that afternoon. I was in Newport at the training camp, so all the riders were there; I knew everyone would be watching it. Jess (Varnish) said: ‘You alright Vic? You’re very quiet.’ She said I had been acting really weird all day. I didn’t know how people would response; I had laid it all out there. I was nervous, but when it was done, we were both emotional. Jess and I were lying in our twin beds, past our bed time; it was on 9pm to 10pm, and feeling a little bit emotional. She came over and gave me a little hug after it. She’s such a sweetheart. And afterwards I got such a positive response from it. I couldn’t believe how lovely and how people who watched it wanted to tweet about it. I was trending! I’m just really surprised how it affected people. People wrote such lovely stuff, seriously, I was almost in tears reading some of things people wrote; it was so beautiful.’
Victoria Pendleton is the ambassador for Pantene Pro-V Smooth & Sleek.