No gold, but a new glamour shot and a £1m-a-year silver lining for Victoria
The Olympic sensation added a silver medal to her 2012 and 2008 golds in front of a rousing crowd at the Velodrome
Victoria was disqualified in the first of three finals with Meares after making contact in the final sprint to the finish
Marketing experts said Pendleton could now earn £1million a year with deals
New face of hair product company
By Paul Harris
Victoria Pendleton rode tearfully into the sunset last night with her dream of a golden goodbye indelibly tainted by a final clash with her biggest rival.
The Olympic sensation added a silver medal to her 2012 and 2008 golds in front of a rousing crowd at the Velodrome – then began her retirement without wearing the crown of the most highly decorated woman athlete of all time.
She failed to trounce her Australian arch enemy Anna Meares – a win that would finally have laid to rest the controversy, competition and cat-fighting between them.
Victoria was disqualified in the first of three finals with Meares after making contact in the final sprint to the finish, a decision that filled the arena with booing and countless faces frozen in disbelief.
She appeared to mouth ‘she touched me first!’ as the judges huddled around screens and played the photo finish over and over again.
Then – clearly shaken by the referee’s decision to relegate her – she was beaten to gold in the next race by a powerhouse performance from the 28-year-old Australian.
But here’s the good news. Marketing experts said Pendleton could now earn £1million a year with deals promoting lifestyle, fashion and make-up, as well as earning up to £20,000 a time on the corporate speaking circuit.
And her silver success yesterday – combined with another gold each for Sir Chris Hoy and 20-year-old Laura Trott – also dramatically bolstered Team GB’s ever growing medal tally. Whatever the result, the crowd still adored Vicky, Vicky, Vicky!
This was Last Night of the Velodrome, a Land of Hope and Glory for the people and one last hurrah for Queen Victoria. Despite the disappointment, spectators gave a rousing, raucous send-off for the highest-profile female cyclist of all time before she effectively handed over the challenge to Laura.
Holding her medal aloft, she waved farewell at precisely 6.40pm with the newcomer looking on. The Queen had stepped down. Long live the Queen.
Her appearance here in the last of the cycling events at the Games will still go down as one of the most exciting finishes to an Olympic race – and to a glittering career – ever witnessed.
Every lap Victoria completed on the wooden track brought the crowd alive in an arena that is also known as the Thunderdome.
Pendleton failed to trounce her Australian arch enemy Anna Meares - a win that would finally have laid to rest the controversy, competition and cat-fighting between them
It came not just from the 6,000-strong crowd or from her fiancé, family, or the impressive scattering of royal and VIP onlookers who clearly decided this was the one to watch.
Safe to assume it also came from the British ranks of an enormous TV audience around the world, and from a nation that has followed the 31-year-old poster girl and magazine pin-up from the moment she took the 2008 Games by storm.
At one stage the cameras caught princes William and Harry leaping to their feet and bellowing.
But oh, how much more satisfying for Britain it would have been if the outcome had been that little bit different.
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