So Bradley Wiggins is a fully paid up super hero. We admire his achievements and his dry sense of humour, even his bloody sideburns are close to being deified. But most of all we love him because he’s human.
It actually makes me rather sad for a couple of our other sporting superstars. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have been waving the Union Flag on the world stage for years now and they don’t get anything like the adulation Wiggo gets.
That everyone can do cycling and no one can drive a Formula One car doesn’t stack up as a reason. The sort of bike Wiggo rides is about as similar to my treader as an F1 car is to the family VW Polo. Part of it is undoubtedly that after years of the national football side failing woefully in the beautiful game, we seem to have found a sport that we Brits are good at. The other part is their respective characters, or rather the way Hamilton and Button’s have been so carefully managed?
I’ve met and interviewed Lewis Hamilton and he’s a nice enough guy. But McLaren keeps him too closeted from the real world. When I interviewed him there was me and another journalist and four, yes FOUR PR people. It was like they were waiting for me to get up and mug him for his TAG Heuer.
Wiggo on the other hand seems refreshingly unaffected. After Wiggo’s time trial success, we saw him having a well-earned night out on the Vodka and Tonic. He was with his mates having a laugh. When we see Hamilton out he’s with his pop chick girlfriend or a celeb pal. It seems as fake as his oversized diamond studs look. Button seems more interesting and charismatic but we just don’t see him period, which is a shame for sports fans and sponsors alike.
Wiggo is unlikely ever to be as rich as either Button or Hamilton. But unless he changes dramatically he will always be the bigger hero. I think I’d sacrifice a few quid for that.