Snubs, insults and downright bitchiness – for the primary time Australian bicycle owner Anna Meares has advised the within story of her bitter feud with British golden girl Victoria Pendleton and their last showdown on the London Olympics.
Meares, who dethroned the native hero dubbed ‘Queen Victoria’ to win gold within the Brit’s last-ever race, has skirted across the rivalry for years, claiming reviews of deep-seated animosity between the pair have been ‘just paper talk’.
But in her newly-released biography ‘Now’, the twin Olympic gold medallist reveals the feud was in actual fact very actual and finally led to Pendleton’s downfall.
According to Meares, within the lead-up to the London Games she was snubbed by Pendleton and insulted by the British media, resulting in the profitable fruits of a secret three-year coaching marketing campaign the Australian and her group had labelled ‘Know Thy Enemy’.
Victoria Pendleton (pictured on the Laureus World Sports Awards in Germany in February) misplaced to Ms Meares (proper, after her win) on her house turf at London’s 2012 Olympics
Victoria Pendleton (pictured, left) poses with her silver medal after being crushed on the London Olympics in 2012 by Australian Anna Meares (centre) whereas Shuang Guo (proper) on bronze
By the time Meares arrived in London for the 2012 Olympics she was so centered on beating Pendleton that her team-mates feared the bitter rivals would come to blows after they crossed paths unexpectedly within the eating room of the athletes’ village.
Meares says the seeds for the feud have been sown throughout a race on the 2006 World Championships in Bordeaux, France.
In attempting to dam Pendleton from shifting to the entrance of the pack Meares’ pedal had hit the Englishwoman’s wheel and she or he almost fell.
Meares was disqualified and tried to apologise after the race.
‘To my shock, she snaps at me, “I’m not interested in anything you have to say”, Meares writes within the guide.
Victoria Pendleton (pictured, left) with ex-husband Scott Gardner (proper), competed for years in opposition to Anna Meares – with the pair forming a fierce rivalry
Anna Meares (pictured, left, with her companion Nick Flyger) made a outstanding comeback after a devastating crash in January 2008
‘I try again and she repeats sharply: “I’m not “.’
From that second their relationship deteriorated, with sportswriters increase the prospect of the 2 assembly within the last of the ladies’s dash on the Beijing Olympics as biking’s ‘grudge match of the century.’
But in January 2008, simply seven months earlier than the beginning of the Games, that showdown appeared inconceivable after Meares was concerned in a horrific crash throughout a race in Los Angeles.
Her neck was damaged, shoulder dislocated and she or he had torn ligaments and tendons.
A health care provider advised her it was a miracle she was not a quadriplegic.
Anna Meares (pictured, left) is seen celebrating her London 2012 Olympic win alongside house turf favorite Victoria Pendleton (proper), who gained silver
Anna Meares (pictured, left, with companion Nick Flyger, proper, and their first little one, Evelyn Bette Meares Flyger, centre)
Incredibly, she was again coaching on a stationary bike ten days later, made the Olympic group and in an epic contest earlier than a vocal house crowd, defeated China’s Guo Shuang within the semi-final of the dash earlier than going to all the way down to Pendleton within the last.
The pair would meet once more on the 2010 World Championships in Melbourne but it surely was not something that occurred on the observe that enraged Meares, it was what Pendleton stated to a neighborhood reporter.
‘This was when everything changed for me,’ Meares stated.
‘Victoria was quoted as saying that she believed her largest rival on the London Olympics could be Guo Shuang, who she described because the runner-up on the 2008 Games.
In January 2008, Ms Meares was concerned in a horrific crash throughout a race in Los Angeles which left her with in depth accidents (pictured)
Victoria Pendleton (pictured at London Men’s Fashion Week in 2019) was praised within the British press for her photogenic purple carpet appearances, in addition to her biking
‘But I had defeated Guo within the semi-final in Beijing, earlier than Victoria beat me for the gold medal. I couldn’t consider what I used to be studying. I used to be upset and offended.
‘I began pondering, “I don’t care if you don’t like me, and I understand if you don’t respect me, but at least acknowledge me for what I went through before Beijing.”
‘I gained that silver medal after breaking my neck in a race fall and went by months of rehab simply to get there.
‘For me, there couldn’t have been a much bigger slap within the face, and she or he had made it a public one.’
Meares and her group threw themselves into ‘Project Know Thy Enemy’.
They watched and studied over 300 hours of video of Pendleton’s races, figuring out that she most well-liked to race from the rear place.
Anna Meares (pictured, proper) has opened up about her difficult rivalry with Britain’s Victoria Pendleton
Victoria Pendleton (pictured) has had a picture overhaul after retiring from skilled biking
To counter that Meares practised incessantly till she perfected the transfer referred to as ‘track standing’ – balancing the stationary bike till the opponent has no different however to maneuver to the entrance – on the steepest a part of the bend the place it’s hardly ever carried out .
Meares turned an knowledgeable on the transfer however by no means used it in competitors previous to London – together with within the 2010 World Championship semi-final loss to Pendleton – in order to not tip her hand.
To fine-tune their race techniques for the London showdown Meares’s coach Gary West recruited Australian male group member Alex Bird to impersonate Pendleton’s fashion in lots of of simulated races.
From then on Meares and her group shunned referring to Pendleton by identify – she was identified to them solely as ‘Alex’.
Anna Meares (pictured, left) of Australia is seen celebrating her victory in opposition to Victoria Pendleton (proper) at London’s 2012 Olympics within the Women’s Sprint Track Cycling last.
Anna Meares (pictured) was handled cruelly within the British press, and talked about as a ‘ugly coal miner’s daughter’, she claimed
Meares arrived in London able to face Pendleton however quickly discovered she could be taking up a whole nation which had elevated her photogenic rival to celeb standing.
‘In the lead-up to London I learn a narrative from the UK in regards to the rivalry which was headlined: “Broomstick Versus Lipstick”,’ she stated.
‘The story described me as the ugly coal miner’s daughter coming over to steal Queen Victoria’s gold medal, a portrayal I took personally.
‘I’d by no means been judged on my look earlier than.’
Going by customs at Heathrow, she was welcomed by the immigration officer who then checked out her passport and stated, ‘You’re Victoria’s rival’.
When Meares answered within the affirmative, he handed again her papers and stated, ‘Enjoy your silver’.
After retiring from biking, Victoria Pendleton (pictured) had a stylish makeover
Anna Meares (pictured) is seen on the medal ceremony on the London 2012 Olympic Games, after successful gold forward of native favorite Victoria Pendleton
Before the pair met on the observe they virtually settled their variations within the meals corridor of the athletes’ village, Meares recalled.
‘The Aussie group was on one desk and the British group on one other and Victoria and I have been approaching one another from completely different instructions.
‘We have been carrying our meals on a tray, and as we acquired nearer neither of us seemed left or proper or budged; nor have been we ready to let the opposite cross first once we lastly met.
‘I could sense my teammates thinking, “Oh dear, what’s going to occur right here?”
‘Eventually, we each took a step sideways and walked round one another, with not a phrase or a glance to be shared.
‘Thinking again, I can’t consider how petty this was however in that second it didn’t really feel proper to again down, not even a bit of.’
Anna Meares (pictured) is seen competing within the Women’s 500m Time Trial throughout day three of the UCI World Track Cycling Championships at Hisense Arena on December 4 2010
Victoria Pendleton (pictured on the opera in London in January 2019) claimed her largest Olympic rival was Guo Shuang, who had in actual fact been crushed by Ms Meares
When the 2 rivals met in the perfect of three last of the dash – Pendleton’s final race earlier than retirement – it was virtually an anti-climax, the Brit disqualified within the first race and the Australian pulling off the observe stand tactic to perfection within the second to win the gold medal 2-0.
Pendleton earned Meares’ admiration for taking her hand and elevating for all the size of the again straight after the race.
The finish of their rivalry was cemented after they met on the Beijing Olympics 4 years later, Meares as a competitor in her last occasion, Pendleton a commentator for BBC.
‘You really made me work hard,’ Meares stated to her. ‘Because of that, I ended up being as successful as I’ve been.’
Pendleton answered, ‘It’s been epic. We’ve skilled the identical stuff. You’re the one one that really is aware of what it’s prefer to be me.’
‘We’re all the time going to have that connection,’ Meares advised her. ‘It’s by no means going to go.’
Anna Meares (pictured, left, with companion Nick Flyger, proper) earned Ms Pendleton’s admiration after years of fierce competitors
VICTORIA PENDLETON: OFF TRACK
Victoria Pendleton CBE, to provide her her full title, has made as many headlines off the observe as on it.
She will all the time be remembered as certainly one of Team GB’s most profitable feminine Olympians with two golds and a silver throughout two Games – 2008 and 2012 – earlier than her retirement shortly after London.
But she did not keep out of the limelight for lengthy. Pendleton was signed up for the 10th collection of Strictly Come Dancing in 2012 and partnered Brendan Cole to complete seventh of the 14 contestants. Her autobiography, Between The Lines, was additionally revealed in 2012.
The following 12 months Pendleton married Scott Gardner – their relationship had beforehand precipitated issues as he was compelled to depart his position as sports activities scientist with the British biking group Pendleton was part of after Beijing 2008. The couple break up in 2018.
After quitting biking, Pendelton turned her consideration to a much bigger saddle and loved success as a jockey, making her competitve debut in August 2015 and successful her first race the next March on Pacha Du Polder at Wincanton. A fortnight later the pair teamed up for fifth within the Foxhunter Chase on the Cheltenham Festival. She later described it because the ‘best achievement of my life.’
She has additionally introduced TV protection of the Festival and been on the entrance of quite a few magazines whereas in 2018 she hit the headlines once more when she needed to abandon scaling Mount Everest due critical well being issues after affected by a scarcity of oxygen on the expedition.
Last 12 months she spoke about how splitting from her husband and the failed Everest climb led to melancholy and her considering suicide.