Last week, at a special evening thrown by adidas by Stella McCartney, 30 lucky Stylist readers interviewed the Olympic gold-medal winner at an exclusive event
When we asked the Stylist readers if they'd like to grill Victoria Pendleton on everything from what's it's like to stand on the winning podium to her exacting Strictly regime, we were overwhelmed by the response. And last Wednesday, 30 lucky winners were invited to the adidas by Stella McCartney boutique on London's Fulham Road.
Over prosecco and some rather tasty canapés (Alba white truffle risotto cube with aged Parmesan anyone?), Victoria gamely faced the Stylist readers as they asked her some seriously searching questions. When asked about her thoughts on the media's representation of women in sport by reader Emma Lax, Victoria explained, "Women's sport is this close to being amazing. Women are so good at mass participation events. They love it. And if enough people who love it are heard, I think that would make a real difference to people giving it a go. After all, it's not about who's the fastest but about getting something out of it."
One of the biggest questions that came up was how Victoria stays motivated when she doesn't feel like training. "As a competitive cyclist I think if I'm not doing it another girl will be. I'm thinking about the girl in Russia or China training while I'm looking out the window at the rain. If she's training, I'm going to stay out longer. The way it makes you feel afterwards is worth it though. Even when it's hard to put on your kit."
Reader Selma Hooley also wanted to know how training for the Olympics compares to her Strictly practice. "The majority of my Olympic training was fairly unpleasant," said Victoria. "Being a sprinter is about muscle mass and as someone who doesn't build muscle easily you switch off your brain and don't think about how it feels. Whereas in dance training you can't afford to switch off because you'll have forgotten the next step. I'm really surprised at how fatiguing the mental exertion is because I was saying, 'I'm going to train at least six hours a day, 12 hours!' And then by five, six o'clock, I'm 'left, left, right.' And Brendan is saying 'the other left!'"
After the Q&A, Victoria talked to each of the readers in turn while gamely posing for many, many photos. The readers also got busy investigating the autumn/winter 2012 adidas by Stella McCartney collection with their 15% off before sailing off into the night with some rather lovely goodie bags.