One of Britain’s most successful road cyclists ever retired today. Nicole Cooke won races all over the world, including a World Championship and an Olympic gold medal in 2008, but she got a fraction of the attention that riders like Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins have received.
I think her retirement shows some of the problems that are faced by women in cycling, especially the lack of attention they receive. Cooke’s retirement has made headlines, though that seems to be just as much for the fact that she’s not gone quietly into retirement as it is for the fact that she’s retired. As she says:
“Tyler Hamilton will make more money from a book describing how he cheated than I will make in all my years of honest labour.”
For me, that goes to the heart of the problem – Cooke and her fellow female professionals have slogged it out around the world, delivering some exciting racing with huge ability, yet she’s had to talk about Armstrong, Landis and Hamilton to get significant attention for her retirement.
So to redress the balance, here’s my favourite memory of her career – winning the Olympic road race in Beijing. Unfortunately, the editing of the video is terrible, and it misses out the key moment when the lead group of five come round the final bend and start the drag to the finish. At that point, Cooke looked like she’d made a mistake and been dropped off the back of the group, but she powered up the final straight, overhauled the others and won the medal.
Chapeau, Nicole Cooke! Or ‘het!’, if you want it in Welsh.
Five more interesting things for you, gathered from across the internet.
The Whiffle Flib test – Hopi Sen offers a way to ensure that political speeches are devoid of all meaning and context. Security Myths and Passwords – Why making people change their passwords once a month doesn’t improve security. (via) Leadership That’s Working? – a look at Northern Irish politics now that Protestantism and Unionism are slipping away from the status of an absolute majority (via) What If We Responded to Sexual Assault by Limiting Men’s Freedom Like We Limit Women’s? – And the ‘what about the men?’ whiners turn up straight away in the comments to prove the point. Friends without benefits – “I seem to have a chronic inability to be angry about people claiming benefits. I know I’m supposed to be furious. I’m meant to be incensed that people can have 10 kids and not work. I’m meant to be incandescent that a family where no one has a job brings in near to my previous salary in benefits. But nothing happens. I’ve tried reading the Mail, the Sun and the Express, I really have, but somehow it fails to make me cross at all. (Well, the people claiming benefits don’t.)”
The January meeting of the Castle Ward Neighbourhood Action Panel will take place on January 21st at 2pm in the North Committee Room of the Town Hall.
The NAP exists to “address crime, anti-social behaviour and quality of life issues throughout the Castle Ward” and meets monthly. The members are councillors, police, residents, council officers and others. There’s more information on the Council’s website here, including the up to date Action Plan for the NAP.
If you’ve got issues you want the NAP to consider then please come along and tell us about them – meetings are open to all members of the public. If you can’t make it to the meeting, then please get in touch with me or any of the other councillors, so we can raise your issue for you and get back to you with the results.