Carshalton cyclist Joanna Rowsell: 'I hope we have inspired people to get on their bikes'
THE chairman of Sutton Cycling Club has revealed golden girl Joanna Rowsell was better known for falling off her bike than winning medals as a youngster.
Carshalton-born Joanna, 23, rode to glory for Team GB in the women's team pursuit on Saturday alongside teammates Laura Trott and Danielle King.
But her former chairman Peter Fordham this week revealed just how far she had come.
He said: "When she first started, she wasn't just raw – she kept falling off! But what sets Joanna apart are her gutsiness and tenacity.
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"She would just keep getting back on and soon enough she was the best."
Speaking after her win, Joanna, who lives in Cheam, believed there will be a knock-on effect in Sutton after the exploits of cyclists like herself and Bradley Wiggins.
"I was over the moon to win," she said. "The crowd were going crazy and I was just trying to soak up the atmosphere.
"It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – a home game, a gold medal and a world record.
"I've been so excited ever since it was announced it was going to be in London. The crowd and their support definitely helped spur us on.
"I hope we have managed to inspire people in the local community to get on their bikes."
Mr Fordham also hopes the former Cuddington Croft Primary and Nonsuch High pupil will serve as an inspirational role model to all the budding Pendletons and Hoys in the borough.
He added: "We are proud and delighted for her and we hope that this shows the way for Sutton's youngsters, even if that just means getting on a bike for the first time."
Joanna's success has been marked in the borough with a gold-painted postbox on Carshalton Road.
To celebrate the win, Royal Mail also produced special gold medal stamps, which are on sale in more than 500 Post Offices, including in St Nicholas Centre.
The stamps feature an action image of Joanna and her team Laura Trott and Dani King in action during the Woman's Team Pursuit final.