Fame is overrated, or at least it is to Bradley Wiggins.
The 32-year-old British road bicycle racer won the 2012 Tour de France on Sunday. In doing so, he became the first cyclist out of Great Britain to win the sport’s most prestigious competition.
Wiggins made history. His accomplishment will attract endless attention, and deservedly so. But according to Justin Davis of the AFP, Wiggins couldn’t care less about the bright lights of cameras flashing.
He said on Saturday after nearly clinching his Tour de France triumph: “I'm determined to not let it change me. I'm not into celebrity life, red carpets and all that rubbish.”
Why doesn’t fame interest Wiggins?
“Red carpets and all that rubbish,” as he put it, obviously weren't the cyclist’s motivation. Winning was. He’s not just an elite cyclist—he’s an elite competitor.
Davis went on to describe Wiggins' dedication to training as “monk-like." To the dismay of the conspiracy theorists that believe his rise was the result of a blood doping scandal, he climbed to the top of the road racing world because of an unrivaled work ethic. Assuming anything other than that is downright disrespectful to a man who has never failed a drug test.
Wiggins humbly embraced the moment after his win. He said (via AFP):
When you are 12 and say you want to be the winner of the Tour de France, no-one imagines it is going to happen. Here I am, 20 years on, and it's a reality. Who would have thought a boy from central London would do it?
Wiggins didn’t do it for the fame—he did it for the game.
He’s won multiple gold medals at the Olympics and multiple gold medals at the World Championships, but there’s no grander stage than the Tour de France. On that stage, Wiggins fulfilled a dream of victory, not of flashing lights.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.