Olympic shock: Athletes are human too!

Marie Claire's deputy editor Charlotte Moore was a London 2012 sceptic - until she saw last night's Victoria Pendleton documentary. She tells us why there's more to Vicky P than bikes and hot hair...

Marie Claire’s deputy editor Charlotte Moore was a London 2012 sceptic – until she saw last night’s Victoria Pendleton documentary. She tells us why there’s more to Vicky P than bikes and hot hair…

Up until 9.15pm on Wednesday, when I accidentally tuned into Victoria Pendleton: Cycling’s Golden Girl on BBC1, I was an I-hate–the-Olympics bore.

All those scare stories about traffic and trillions of people just made me feel claustrophobic. And not being someone who avidly watches the random sporting events at 2am just because they are, well, sport, the thought of London 2012 just left me cold.

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But watching Vicky, our feisty, spikey, wonderfully emotional, gold medal winning sprint cyclist, was a revelation.

This brilliant documentary revealed her intriguing relationship with her father (also a racing cyclist), her twin brother who was tragically ill as a child, as well as her love affair with sports scientist Scott Gardner.

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There were tears, there was torment – by the end of it I was grabbing the edge of my chair desperate for her to win that race against her nemesis, the Australian sprint cyclist Anna Meares. It wasn’t even live!

Of course I realise that she is the glamourous face of sport and she happily told the cameras all about her long, well-conditioned hair that she straightened or curled, or did whatever. But it wasn’t that which had me so transfixed.

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It was her unbelievable dedication, the hours and hours of six day a week training, the races that made her heave and wail with emotion, that made her so inspiring and frankly gripping to watch.

Victoria’s articulate analysis and open discussion about what it means to be an athlete in 2012 was truly fascinating. So if you’re dreading the Olympics , watch the doc now – it will make the next three weeks so much more bearable.

Charlotte was watching Victoria Pendleton: Cycling’s Golden Girl on BBC1.

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