‘It Was Horrific to Be Accused’- British Cyclist Details How Motherhood Made Her Stronger for Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 07/19/2021, 6:53 AM EDT

Lizzie Deignan, British cyclist, reigning Women’s Tour winner, and overall World Tour 2020 title winner, was left with a bitter taste in her mouth following the Rio Olympics. Deignan missed three drug tests within a one-year period.


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This put her Rio Olympics in jeopardy, and she came into the public and media spotlight. All this really affected her, and it showed in her performance in Rio as she finished fifth.

A horrific Olympic experience


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Mere days ahead of the women’s road race in Rio, the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) had cleared Deignan to compete. This was just a month after she was suspended, as she had missed multiple doping tests within 12 months.

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“It was horrific to be accused of being a doper when it was the very last thing I would ever do,” said Deignan to BBC Sport. “It was hard to have yourself so publicly questioned. Lies can be written, and you have no control over it.”

Lizzie Deignan, a dominant force in women’s cycling, was one of the favorites for a podium finish. However, things changed for her and made the race just something she had to get done with and get home, regardless of the result.

She said, “It was just a bike race to get through at that point, it wasn’t about trying to win an Olympic medal anymore, it was just about getting the race done and getting home. I was thrown into this media storm where my whole reputation was being put on the line. It was very difficult to process it and cope with it. It was a very, very difficult time.”

The cyclist concluded, But honestly I can say that I’m a stronger person for it, it’s taught me a great deal about lots of things.”

Motherhood made Lizzie Deignan stronger

After the Tokyo Olympics, Lizzie definitely thought of quitting for good, as she was unhappy following the events of 2016. All this changed in 2018 when she decided to have a child. In 2018, her daughter Orla’s arrival into her world changed everything. 

The cyclist said, “It made me fall back in love with the sport. Being back on the bike post Orla was just like ‘wow, I can still do it’. I knew straightaway, the first time I got back on the bike, this is what I’m made to do and this is what I’m good at.”


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“Stepping away from sport was a good thing to do to realize who I am as a person and what makes me happy, and to just do something for myself. 


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Lizzie Deignan added, “Orla has given me a huge sense of balance and perspective that it’s quite a selfish thing to do to try and just pursue this one goal for yourself.”


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Lizzie Deignan will look to improve from her previous Olympics appearance and win gold at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. What do you make of her story?


Allan Binoy

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Allan Binoy is a Combat Sports Author at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in English Literature. Allan is a semi-professional football player for Diego Juniors FC.



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