Becky James, the 21-year-old professional racing cyclist from Wales, became the first British rider to win four medals at a single World Championships, after winning two gold and two bronze medals in Minsk.
James started her cycling career at the Abergavenny Road Club. Through a local cycling programme, she took part in an off-road cycle event, which was her first time of competition cycling. She was invited to the Wales national Velodrome in Newport, after a sprint coach spotted her talent.
James’ first mark on the world of race cycling was a gold medal she won in the under-16s 500m time trial in the British track national championships in 2006.
In 2009, James took world and European titles in sprint, 500m time trial and Keirin disciplines with a number of national golds. At the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, James won the bronze medal in the 500m time trial track race and a silver medal in the sprint for wales. She was nominated for the 2010 BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year because of her solid performance.
James missed out on competing in London 2012 Olympic games, as a result of injuries and illness. However, missing out didn’t stop James to succeed. She took her first World Cup win, along with Jess Varnish, in the team sprint at the Glasgow round of Track World Cup in November 2012.
The breakthrough performance in the 2013 Track World Championships showed James is ready to take the crown of the new sprint star after Victoria Pendleton’s retirement.
James was stunned by her historic success. After winning, she said on TV: “I’m just still taking it all in. I can’t actually believe it’s happened.
“I feel like it’s a complete dream apart from the pain in my legs.”
James has great supports from the coaches, her family and her friends. Her grandparents saw her make history in Minsk. After winning, she posted in her twitter: I have the most incredible friends and family! Thanks for all the lovely cards and pressies and such a lush night!
Her boyfriend, George North, Wales Rugby Union wing, said on twitter that he was so happy for James’s success. He thinks she deserves it as she has worked so hard in these months.
Pete Hackett, who was on the spot of Minsk and a fan of Becky James, said: “Becky’s performance is amazing. I was lucky to see her win and knew how difficult and intense it was to win against such strong fields in every race. Becky grew in confident in the race and finally made the Keirin look easy.”
Full name: Rebecca Angharad James
Date of birth: 29 November 1991
Birthplace: Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales
Current team: Node 4-Giordana Racing
Role: Sprinter / All-Rounder Rider