'I left my pride on the Strictly dance floor': Victoria Pendleton admits disastrous debut left her feeling helpless for first time
08:13 GMT, 16 October 2012
She was a heroine of the velodrome with enough accolades to fill a trophy cabinet or two.
These days, however, Victoria Pendleton is feeling more like a mere mortal – and the Strictly glitter ball prize is far from within her sights.
In her first dance of the new series, the Olympic cyclist, 32, forgot a key step and fluffed her routine.
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Tears: Strictly host Tess Daly (left) comforts Victoria Pendleton (centre) after a dance with Brendan Cole (right)
Recalling the disastrous cha cha cha, she said: ‘I left all of my pride in tatters on the dance floor after my first performance.
‘I felt prepared beforehand. But then I stepped out into the spotlight, forgot one step and it all went wrong. I just didn’t have the dance experience to recover.
‘I have never experienced that feeling of helplessness before.’
Miss Pendleton, who won a gold and silver medal at the London Games, burst into tears after her dance with partner Brendan Cole, which judge Bruno Tonioli said was like ‘falling off her bike’.
Improving: Brendan and Victoria ended up receiving a score of 26 for their foxtrot on last weekend's show
She said: ‘I was so upset I let down Brendan after all of the hard work that he had put into teaching me the routine.
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‘I was so annoyed that I didn’t hear a
word the judges said to me. I am sure they weren’t very nice, but
nothing they said could have made me feel any worse.’
This week, however, those tricky manoeuvres came back to her like second nature.
In an interview in the current edition of Radio Times, Miss Pendleton said: ‘Brendan may make a dancer of me yet.
‘I actually managed to retain some of the steps from the week before. I now know what a chase and a heel lead are.’
Fabulous in fuchsia: Although Victoria looked sensational in Week 1, her skills unfortunately didn't match her style
The full interview with Victoria is in the new issue of the Radio Times, on sale now
That attitude paid off as she was back
on track during the weekend’s live shows, scoring a solid 26 out of 40, a
huge improvement on her first dance which achieved a measly 16 points
and saw her placed last.
Dancing to classic tune Moondance, she was praised for her natural poise and was voted through to the next round on Sunday night’s results show.
Miss Pendleton said: ‘I felt so much more comfortable with the foxtrot. My legs were bent and felt more natural and it was slower and I had more time to think, which is obviously what I need.’
And it seems her competitive spirit is back in play as well.
She said: ‘The one thing that cycling has taught me, that I can bring into the dance studio is that when you fall off your bike you just have to dust yourself off and jump straight back on.’
Despite her improved performance this week, it seems there will be no relaxation time in her training regime. She said: ‘Brendan has promised to be tougher on me in the studio and I hope that starts to show on Saturday nights.’
The full interview with Victoria is in the new issue of the Radio Times, on sale now.