Catharine Pendrel at the World Cup in Houffalize (Belgium) on 15th April 2012
September 30, 1980 |
Fredericton, New Brunswick
|Height||5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)|
|Weight||50 kg (110 lb)|
|Discipline||Mountain bike racing|
|Infobox last updated on
11 July 2012
Catharine Pendrel (born September 30, 1980) is a Canadian cross-country mountain biker from Fredericton, New Brunswick. She has been a member of the Canadian National team since 2003. Pendrel is the current world champion in cross-country mountain biking and was the 2007 Pan American Games champion. In addition, she is also the 2010 World Cup Champion and current leader of the 2012 UCI World Cup Series as of the 2012 Olympics.
Pendrel was a competitive horse rider in dressage prior to selecting mountain biking as her primary sport. Her brother Geoff Pendrel is an elite downhill mountain bike racer. He introduced her to the sport as a child through the trails he built on their horse farm. Pendrel's first race was on a bike borrowed to her by her brother. She noted that she got into mountain biking because she "sucked at all the school sports." She recounts that her first rides on her bike were often quite nervous ones ruled by fear, especially on descents where she would walk her bike down, she said that "what I remember from starting is falling and crashing a lot."
She then headed from the East Coast to the West Coast where she began riding at the University of Victoria. There she had to convince future coach Dan Proulx into taking her on, as he was quoted "Catharine and I often joke because, no, I didn’t see (world champion potential) in her at first. It took a lot of persistence and hard work over time. She had to bug me a bit to get me to coach her at first and luckily it all worked out. It just goes to show you, you can work hard and make something happen."
Her first international competition was at the 2004 World Champions in Les Gets, France where she finished 46th. Prior to competing at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Pendrel competed at the 2007 Pan Am Games where she won gold. She finished 4th at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the cross-country event just 9 seconds out of a medal position. Pendrel was not as notable a rider at the time as was her hero, teammate, and gold medal favourite Marie-Hélène Prémont who did not finish after a lingering and unknown illness caused her to retire from the race.
This near Olympic success helped launch Pendrel's most successful period. She won the 2010 UCI World Cup Series before winning the 2011 World Championships. These achievements put her as one of Canada's top medal favourites for the 2012 Summer Olympics. In advance of the London games, she had won an online fan poll to be selected as Canada's flag bearer, though the Canadian Olympic Committee eventually selected Simon Whitfield as the flag bearer. In response she tweeted "Thank you Canada & cycling fans for voting me as people's choice for flag bearer. You honor and inspire me!" She was also put into a favoured position to win at the London Olympics by winning the test event prior to the games. At the Olympics Pendrel finished back in 9th place, disappointing the high expectations of her. After the race a tearful Pendrel said that "I felt so strong yesterday and today just didn't happen. You know I'm sorry because I know everyone in B.C. got up at 4:30 [a.m.] to watch me. It's just what I had in the day and unfortunately this only comes every four years. Maybe in Rio."
- Canadian Olympic Committee (June 22, 2012). "Catharine Pendrel". Canada.com. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- "Catharine Pendrel profile". CTV Sports. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- Paul Hunter (July 13, 2012). "London 2012: For mountain biker Catharine Pendrel, the wheels are always turning". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
- Jesse Campigotto (July 4, 2012). "Catharine Pendrel: Canada's choice for Olympic flag bearer". CBC Sports. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- Jesse Campigotto (August 11, 2012). "Canadian favourite Pendrel finishes 9th in mountain bike". CBC News.
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