Victoria Pendleton: Women Athletes Can’t Just Be Good, They Need To Look Good

EXCLUSIVE! Victoria Pendleton talks to Marie Claire about the unfairness for women in sport

Victoria Pendleton dominated last summer’s headlines thanks to her impressive and Olympic-medal-winning skills on a bike, but she believes a large part of her success following her retirement from sport is down to her looks.

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The athlete spoke to Marie Claire about the role women play in sport and whether they are always judged by their appearance. Victoria told us: ‘There is an expectation as a female sportsperson you can’t just be good at what you do you have to look in order to get the media coverage.’

Press attention is precious to sports star as it helps secure them lucrative sponsorship deals to provide essential funds for training, but this comes at another cost the cyclist adds. ‘There is a pressure that you need to also take care of your appearance which men don’t really need to do,’ she told us. ‘Seeing a man all sweaty is seen as something desirable but not necessarily the same things apply for girls unfortunately.’

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Although it’s not all doom and gloom and gender inequality, Victoria adds: ‘It’s never been better for females – there are now lots of positive successful sporting role models for young girls in particular.

‘It’s good to have a wide range of positive female role models. It’s something I felt lacked when I went into a sport.’

But it’s not just sporting success that Victoria believes influences girls, she also credits her colleagues for promoting a positive body image. She said: ‘A lot of girls want to try and look as close to a model as possible which isn’t achievable for everybody. But being healthy and toned is something that is!’

Well said Victoria!

Victoria Pendleton launched International Fitness Week powered by Fitness First this month, for more information see fitnessfirst.co.uk

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