Early years Born in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, she rode her first race, a 400m event on the grass track at Fordham at the age of 9. Pendleton showed her promise at the age of 13 and was spotted three years later by the assistant national track coach, Marshal Thomas. At that time she wanted to concentrate on her education, graduating from Fearnhill School in Letchworth, and later awarded a degree in Sport and Exercise Science by Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. She enjoyed some success on the track as a student before graduating and becoming a full time cyclist.
Success on the track Pendleton won one bronze and three silver medals in the British National Track Championships in 2001, while still a student. In 2002, she qualified for the England Commonwealth Games team, finishing fourth in the sprint. She again came fourth in the sprint at the 2003 World Championships in Stuttgart and the 2004 World Championships in Melbourne. She ranked 2nd overall in the World Cup for the sprint in 2004, winning the World Cup event in Manchester.
At the 2004 Summer Olympics, she finished 6th in the women’s time trial and 9th in the women’s 200m sprint At the 2005 World Championships, Pendleton won her first major medal with gold in the women’s sprint. She became the third British woman to become a cycling world champion in 40 years. At the 2006 Commonwealth Games, she won silver in the women’s 500m time trial and gold in the women’s sprint in Melbourne.
At the 2007 UCI Track World Championships, she won the gold in the women’s team sprint with Shanaze Reade, the individual gold in the women’s sprint, and a third gold in the women’s Keirin. She crowned the year by being named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year for 2007, becoming the only cyclist to win the award in its 20-year history. Pendleton was also voted Sports Journalists’ Association of Great Britain’s sportswoman of the year for 2007. During her build-up to the Olympics she won two gold medals at the 2008 UCI Track World Championships in the women’s sprint, and the women’s team sprint (again with Shanaze Reade); she was also second in the women’s keirin. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Pendleton won the gold medal in the Women’s Individual Sprint Event.
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