The world is in the grip of Olympic fever and there are some Olympian names that you can not have missed in the media coverage. One such name is Bradley Wiggins, Gold winning cyclist for Team GB. With his huge side burns, childish grin and laid back sense of humour, he doesn’t initially strike you as Britain’s finest, most successful athlete, but that he is. This article gives you the details of Wiggins fantastic Olympic history and overal sportsmanship.
Born 28th April 1980 in Ghent, Belgium, Wiggins was born into a cycling family as his father was a keen endurance cyclist. Moving to London UK at aged 2 after the break of his parents relationship, where his passion for racing and bikes grew and he learnt to cycle and race. Wiggins took up competitive at the age of 12 when he represented Camden in the London Youth Games throughout his teenage years. During 1993 and in 1994, he trained at the West London based Archer Road Club where h brushed up on his technique and gained himself sponsorship which spurred him on to continue pursuing his dream of competitive cycling further.
Wiggins started his racing career on the track rather than the road and became high successful in this field. His professional cycling career started at the the age of 20 as part of the British professional road Linda McCartney Racing Team which came to an end in early 2001 where he would compete track events with other team members both nationally and internationally.
In early 2005, Wiggins expressed his desire to transition from track racing to road performances. His passion for the history of the Tour de France leads him to joining French road team, Cofidis with whom he starts training as a road racer in 2006. During this initial transition period, he is still racing in track events too and in 2007 wins Gold in the individual and team pursuit events of the World Championships. He also defended his track record at the 2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, where he won three gold medals: pursuit, team pursuit and madison.
2009 really sees Bradley Wiggins crack the road racing events and notably by surprising the public and other athletes by finishing in fourth place at that years Tour de France, the most prestigious road race in cycling. From this date onwards, he continues to carve his way in road racing which leads to his historic and record breaking win in 2012 when he is the first ever Brit to win Tour de France and thus cement him as a highly successful track and road racer, something not many athletic cyclists have achieved.
The 2012 London Olympics saw Wiggins become Britain’s most decorated Olympic athlete with 7 medals, over taking the previous record breaker, rower Sir Steve Redgrave. This is an achievemnt which if fully deserved as we look over his Olympic prowess to fully uderstand why is Britains greatest Olympian.
Sydney 2000 – Wiggins is part of the team which consisted of Paul Manning, Chris Newton, Bryan Steel, which wins Bronze in the team pursuit.
Athens 2004 – First British athlete to win medals in three events during one Olympics in 40 years, the last being Mary Rand in 1964. He went on to win a Gold medal individual pursuit, a Silver medal team pursuit and Bronze medal madison with the help of his partner Rob Hayles.
Beijing 2008 – Wiggins continues to impress and wins Gold in the pursuit which also meant he was the first rider to successfully defend this title. This is also the year that he was part of the GB team which broke the world record for speed in the team pursuit event which lead to Gold medals for Britain against Russia and Denmark. He also won his 3rd Gold medal for the 2008 Olympics in the madison.
London 2012 – Wiggins has moved to focus only on the road events by this point and wins Gold in the road time trial by an astonishing 42 second lead against the world champion and silver medalist, Tony Martin. This Gold medal, along with the fact that he won this years Tour de France, makes him the first cyclist to win both titles in the same year.
Other Notabe Achievements
In 2005, Bradley Wiggins was awarded the honour and title of CBE – Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. These awards are only issued to members of the British public who have achieved excellence in their fields and served the public, in this case, his remarkable athletic career and his vocal arguments on road and cyclist safety in the UK. It has been suggested in the media since his performances in the 2012 London Olympics, that he may be in the running for a Knighthood, fingers crossed for him! It’s certainly within his grasp and after all, Sir Steve Redgrave got one when he held the most decorated British Olympian fair is fair!
2012 really is the year he will be remembered, for three reasons. His Tour de France victory, the first Brit to ever win the race. His outstanding Olympic performance in road racing and finally, the fact he holds the 1st place for both these events in one year, a record in itself.
Personal Life and Trivia
Bradley Wiggins has been married for fourteen years and has two children. He and his family live in the north of England in Lancashire. He is a huge fan of music and even plays guitar when not training for 20-30 hours a week. He is keen about all sports and particularly enjoys football and rugby. Wiggins is fluent in French, something he picked up whilst riding in France and working closely with French riders. He was voted ‘Cyclist of the Year’ by Cycling Weekly magazine readers in 2000. Wiggins is very vocal about his desire to see law changes in the UK to improve road safety and cycling for the public. Unfortunately, this is something he had a need to voice during the London Olympics after a cyclist died getting hit by the Olympic bus itself.
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/petitbrun