In April 2016, elite track rider, Jess Varnish was dropped from the British Cycling team after a disappointing finish in the Team Sprint at the World Championships. Herself and Katy Marchant had secured the position they needed to compete in the Rio Olympics.
Jess Varnish made a bold public announcement about the failure of British Cycling, and the way in which it conducted itself. Namely pointing at then technical director, Shane Sutton, who allegedly told Varnish to “go and have a baby”. Further comments and criticisms were made about Varnish’s weight and figure, amounting to a serious form of bullying within British Cycling.
Shortly after going public with her allegations towards Sutton and British Cycling, World and Olympic Road Champion Nicole Cooke, and track legend Victoria Pendleton too came forward to share their similar experiences. Pedleton said: “I would not be able to live with myself if I sat back and let people try to discredit [Varnish’s] character. Not when I wholeheartedly believe her. My experiences [at British Cycling] were very similar. And I know exactly how miserable they made me.”