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16 August 2017

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Previously we’ve learned that Katie Archibald took bad fashion advice from her brother, once ran a very lonely 1500m and injured herself in a slow-cycling race.

This time we learn just how much better Katie could have been at maths if she had applied herself, and why Laura Kenny was right not to listen to a careers advisor.

So here it is, we won’t keep you any longer, have a read of the second part of our cyclist’s schooldays feature…

How important is it to be a role model?

It’s a privilege that comes with being successful, but it does worry me sometimes, not every choice you make is focused on what you want your image to look like. You just have to hope that being authentic is what people want to see. What worried me growing up was that athletes were super-humans and you could never be like them, so I try and bring it back to everyone being like you and me.


What advice would you give to any young aspiring sports stars today?

Take as much advice as you can. The best way to move forward is to use everything around you and not to keep any secrets, because the more you share with each other the more you can advance as a group.

Were you ever told you weren’t going to be a success and how did you cope with that?

I grew up with contrasting parents – my mum always thought I could do no wrong and would achieve anything I put my mind to, with success being in first or 112th. Equally my dad was, and still is, someone who gets nervous on my behalf and says some confidence-ruining things, but I’ve learnt to get the balance between the two.

How much did you enjoy the rest of your school days?

I wasn’t a massive fan of school, but I enjoyed sport lessons. I always felt there was more of an equality between us and the teachers, in that we were all in the one game as opposed to us being there and just listening to what they were telling us.

Can you recall a memorable school report?

I was on a school report for two years! I had to sign in for every lesson, I was bad for truancy and lateness. I wasn’t a disruptive figure though. At the time I felt very proud of having 4/5 for attainment and 2/5 for effort in maths though – maybe in hindsight I should have knuckled down a little more.

What advice did a careers advice officer give you?

We didn’t have a careers advice officer. I know that Laura Kenny was laughed out of school when she said she wanted to be a professional cyclist, but for us it was all about getting As and then going to university – we never really thought about getting a job. I would have likely gone on to study modern languages in Glasgow.

When was the last time you cried at a sporting event?

I’ve never cried with a win. I was doing a turbo session before, imagining the sensation of winning at the Olympic Games and I cried then. I’d given myself the chance to envisage myself winning it without the crowd and the social pressures, so I was there on my own thinking about how much it meant when I was in that moment of intense effort.

What impact does school sport have on a future champion?

School is hugely important – it’s when you are with your peers that you get the groundwork of what it means to be part of a sporting world. When you realise you can go out and meet people in sport, you can open up so many doors for the future in a place where you can enjoy it without the pressure. I wish schools would maybe allow kids to handle competitive pressure, and that having winners and losers isn’t going to terrify people out of sport.


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