Britain’s most decorated Olympian Sir Bradley Wiggins is coming to Brighton as he tours theatres throughout the UK with his insightful, and at times hilarious, live show.
Bradley Wiggins: An Evening With provides a rare opportunity for fans to see the five-time Olympic Gold medallist and Tour De France winner share exclusive tales, prized memorabilia and career highlights when he comes to the Theatre Royal Brighton, on Monday, September 30.
Tickets are still available.
His remarkable achievements made him a national hero, but you’ll struggle to find a more grounded bloke. For all the medals, for all the skill, for all the determination which took him almost beyond elite level, Bradley has retained the guy next door personality which endeared him to millions.
Now retired, he has got the simplest perspective on those years when virtually everything he touched turned to gold.
“It wasn’t a blur and it wasn’t all excitement. You just had to be so business-like,” he said. “We trained not to feel emotion so that we could just go from one event to another. It was instilled in us.
“We just willed ourselves from day to day. If you got excited about things, you would just burn yourself out. And when you won, you just felt relief. We didn’t even celebrate the victories. You just went from race to race. You won, and you would be straightaway focusing on the next one.
“It was not like ‘Wow, this is the greatest period in my life.’ Winning became the benchmark. Not winning was failure. That was the standard we set. It was not about enjoying the moment.”
2012 was the year he won the Tour de France and picked up gold in the London Olympics – an extraordinary year.
“I remember we were in such a bubble on the tour, and we came back and didn’t realise the effect that the tour had had,” he said.
“We were lucky to have the Olympic Games straight off the back of it, and we came back to the Olympics which just happened to be in your home town.
“I went away relatively unknown and came back famous. But I was just doing what I had been doing for 15 years by then. And then all of a sudden, something happened that meant something to people.
“Cycling had by then become such a big sport. And all those people contributed to it – and then we were successful in the home Olympics.”
The effect was similar to the rowing boom after Steve Redgrave, the rugby boom after Jonny Wilkinson, the cricket boom after the 2005 Ashes.
“I think it was about the individuals and about the characters of those individuals,” Bradley said. “And the technology was great. Cycling was suddenly cool. Cycling was suddenly like the new golf for middle-aged men. Cycling became a bit of a national sport.”
Bradley didn’t feel a pressure to keep the sport up there: “If anything I wanted to disappear! But other people come along. The next generation comes along – and other people continue the success.”
There’s no doubting though that the nation had taken Bradley to its heart: “But I was always the same person. I just carried on being that person. I have always been quite rebellious. I couldn’t have lived my life any other way. I just carried on.
“I had two kids that went to a normal school. Having children was the biggest difference. I was just the person next door to a lot of people. It was the same kind of thing with Freddie Flintoff.”
Bradley won the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award (voted for by the public), helping cycling smash its way into the mainstream.
2013 brought further success, including the Tour of Britain title, and in 2014 Wiggins added the rainbow jersey to his collection by winning the World Time Trial Championships.
The summer of 2016 saw Wiggins win his fifth gold medal at the Rio Olympics in the team pursuit and his eighth Olympic medal overall, making him Britain’s most decorated Olympian ever.
It rounded off one of the most impressive sporting careers the nation had ever witnessed. Bradley announced his retirement at the end of the year.
And the retirement has gone remarkably well..
Alongside his weekly appearances on Talk Sport Radio, his podcast The Bradley Wiggins Show was such a success in 2018 that it has returned for an extended 20-episode run mirroring the 2019 cycling season.
In November last year Bradley released his latest book Icons (published by HarperCollins) taking readers on an intimate journey through his time in sport that made him a legend.
“It was the right time to retire,” he said. “I had wanted to retire rather sooner than that. I was just going through the motions for the last few years. I just wanted to win that fifth Olympic gold. I had stopped enjoying the sport. I needed a break.
“And it was relatively easy to transition back to normality. I thought it would be a lot harder.”
After years of having things done for him, he was looking forward to doing them himself for once.
“You got your freedom back to an extent, but you never really get your freedom back after being an elite athlete. You are constantly judged by your best moment. People like to hold on to that moment when they got the most pleasure from you which was great for them. You go into other walks of life, but people always like to hang on to that moment…”
Tickets are available via the Theatre Royal website