She may have an Olympic gold medal to her name but cycling sensation Katie Archibald admits she’s feeling the pressure of being nominated for the National Lottery Athlete of the Year award.
The 24-year-old only made her senior cycling debut four years ago but has since gone on to win gold at Rio in 2016 along with two World Championship golds and host of European gongs.
And 2018 has been another fine year for the Scot who won World, European and Commonwealth gold in the Madison, team pursuit and individual pursuit.
That form has seen Archibald selected as a candidate for the inaugural National Lottery Athlete of the Year.
The public vote will decide which athlete is crowned champion and receive a £5,000 cash prize to award to a National Lottery funded project of their choice.
Archibald has selected Bike for Good as her charity and the Scot admits it holds a special place in her heart.
She said: “It actually feels like a lot of pressure to have been selected. Essentially the athletes nominated are representing their sport.
“It’s not just about the success that you’ve had or the medals, but what those involved in the sport have inspired other people to do.
“If I win you have a lottery funded project of choice to give it to and so mine is Bike for Good. I used to volunteer there when I was a teenager and the concept is that they take in old bikes, refurbish them and sell them on cheap.
“The most fantastic thing is that you bring your own bike and get access to tools to fix your own bike. They run courses for bike ability too. They essentially spread cycling through the community which is fantastic.
“It’s close to home and it’s in the sport that I love so I guess it’s quite easy for me to see how fantastic the work they are doing. I’ve had the experience of finding something in there that changed my life.”
Since National Lottery funding for Olympic and Paralympic sport started in 1997, British athletes have won an incredible 860 medals.
Archibald took time out of her busy schedule to visit the Rio Ferdinand Foundation in Manchester, where she spoke with those who have also benefitted from the National Lottery funded cause.
The charity engages with young people in deprived communities and Archibald was impressed by those she met at the foundation.
She said: “It’s so inspiring to meet those who have felt the impact. It’s great to come along and hear about the work that’s taking place and know that the funding is making a difference.
“National Lottery funding had a huge impact on me. With cycling being one of Great Britain’s most successful sports and we quite proudly tout about the changes that we saw from 1997 when National Lottery funding arrived for British Cycling.
“It’s such a clear trajectory of medal targets and to my first Olympics in Rio just past. I gather it was Britain’s most successful away games and was competing with London as one of the most successful games for us.
“I think you can really pinpoint that down to National Lottery funding.”
The National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects and athletes and celebrate the inspirational people who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding. Voting is open for the Athlete of the Year category until 14 September and people can vote on the website at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk
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