Back to CW’s Olympics homepage>>

Name: Wendy Houvenaghel

Age: 33

From: Magherafelt, Northern Ireland

Disciplines: Track (women?s individual pursuit)

Career synopsis: Houvenaghel like many of the British Olympians, manages to combine track and road riding but specialises in the former. A late developer, it was not until 2005 that Wendy competed at World level, winning the track World Cup in the 3km individual pursuit. Beijing will be her first Olympics and she stands a strong chance of taking a medal.

Titles held: 2005-6 and 2006-7 Women?s Pursuit World Cup Champion; 2008 World Champion Team Pursuit

Two things you didn?t know about… Wendy started cycling in 2002 as a means of recovering from the London Marathon and she used to work in the Air Force as a dentist.


Someone told me you haven?t stopped smiling since your name was announced in the squad

I always smile, to be honest, but being selected gives me even more reason to smile!

Do you have any family coming out to watch you in Beijing?

My husband is coming out, along with my brother and his partner, and my sister and her husband, so I have got a few people supporting me.

Have you ever been to China before?

We competed in China last December. It was a very positive experience and it was good to be able to race on the track. I think we will have the opportunity to get out and explore a bit more this time after our competitions have finished.

Are there any Olympians who you particularly admire?

The people I train with are the Olympians that I admire the most.

What are your earliest Olympic memories?

When ?Flo-Jo? was running in ?88. I remember her nails and extravagant outfits.

What non-cycling Olympic event do you most enjoy?

I really enjoy the equestrian three-day event. That is something I dreamed of taking part in as a child. I used to have my own horse, but I didn?t have the support and back up ? and certainly the financial support ? for such an expensive sport.

How do you cope with all the hanging around?

I am not too bad, actually. It is this phase that I enjoy the most. Up until now, we are either training, sleeping or eating, so it is nice to be doing the final preparation, when the training sessions don?t last so long. It is a good chance to catch up with people ? all those things you don?t normally have time to do.

Any plans for time off after Beijing?

I am going to take a little time out, then it will be back into the World Cup events. It depends on how things go in Beijing, but I would like to get myself some points to stake a claim at the World Championships in March. The fitness I have built up over the last five months can be put to good use.