ZELLA COMPTON: Legal, maybe, but Wiggins' actions have stripped him of his hero status

I bet mine isn't the only household that's gutted by this week's report that Sir Bradley Wiggins was unethical when participating in the Sky Team's approach to medication during cycling competition the Tour de France.

Tuesday, 6th March 2018, 7:00 pm
Bradley Wiggins celebrating his gold Olympic medal Photo: Team Sky

It’s so sad that one of the few sporting heroes I have, and one so beloved of so many people, could have done this.

And although there are denials, and medication for asthma and all these parameters in the murky peloton of the story, all I can think of is my excitement at watching every stage of his win in 2012 and how that’s now been stripped away.

Although seemingly nothing exactly illegal has taken place, the tarnish of performance-enhancing medication has taken the gleam from the pedals.

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It struck me the other day as I hustled aboard a train desperate to get back from London before the line froze, as the snow was falling, that I have never heard a conversation between two male strangers on a train trying to find common ground.

Never is a mighty long time, and perhaps I am remembering incorrectly, but as much as I squint my memory and prod and poke at it, an example hasn’t come to me.

Apparently it happens all the time in taxis. I believe taxi drivers talk to everyone – even men – but this is knowledge which has been passed to me with a grunt of dismay as an odd story, and not something I have had the pleasure of eavesdropping on.

On a train packed tightly with slightly soggy people, all suffering from an acute sense of relief that they’ve boarded and should, fingers crossed, make it home, there is a need to share the joy. But it’s the women who happily share tales while men listen.

There was me and a slightly older lady and a much younger one. Within the space of 20 minutes we knew each other’s history of the day, the year and pretty much life.

The sharing of information for more than the purpose of entertainment binds us together should something go awry.

The thing is, there were far more men in that carriage than women, a ratio of 15-to-one, but apart from a grunt now and then, an apology for standing on a toe or moving a bag, there was little-to-no connection.

But boy did they listen in to our conversation.

You could see it in turns of the head, or slight grins on their faces when something funny was proffered.

Why don’t they chat to one another I wonder? Is it because they can’t think of a single thing to say?

I can’t believe this at all, as all the men I know are generally happy to offer their opinion on most things.

So perhaps there’s a deeper level, maybe all men who catch trains are strong and silent types?

Mybe they’re not interested in other people, but then why listen so intently to what’s going on around them?

Is it darker still – that they don’t want to compete with the answers from someone else? Whatever it is, buckle-up boys, we’re calling on you to provide the entertainment on the next train ride.

You’ve done enough listening in the carriages, now it’s your turn to share.


This week The Shape of Water won an Oscar, as widely predicted.

I am excited to see this film as I love a cross-species love affair, who doesn’t? Especially when yet again it’s the woman who’s the beauty and the man who’s visually portrayed as something other than human.

The beauty/beast story has been told in its many forms through the years to help young girls prepare for their arranged marriages, to give them hope that the heinous, decrepit or painfully unattractive man they’re being forced to marry has redeeming qualities.

I’d rather like to see it told the other way around, and with no change-up at the end to wondrous beauty, so that we can finally see Hollywood believing its preaching.