Complete beginner to 10 times national champion paracyclist
Lee Valley VeloPark
Matthew Robertson was 13 when he was captivated by the spectacle of London 2012 on his television screen. Despite not being able to ride a bike, he decided there and then that he wanted to be a champion too. Today, he is a paracyclist for the Great Britain Cycling Team.
Without Lee Valley VeloPark, Matthew (pictured below right) would never have learnt to ride the track, let alone have the opportunity to train in the same place as his Olympic heroes, or forge Olympic dreams of his own.
Matthew has right sided hemiplegia, a neurological condition that affects the part of the brain that controls movement. But he was not going to let that stop him from achieving his ambitions.
He set his heart on cycling after watching Sir Chris Hoy make history winning his sixth Gold medal in the men’s Keirin at London 2012. “There was this lightbulb moment, I knew I wanted to do that,” says Matthew reflecting on the moment that was to change the course of his life forever.
Matthew joined Woolwich Cycling Club and taught himself to ride on the road for two years before heading to Lee Valley VeloPark.
‘‘The fact that this world class Olympic venue opened up locally meant I could jump on the track almost straight away and progress quickly. It gave me opportunities I never thought I’d have. I’d still be watching sport on TV if it weren’t for Lee Valley VeloPark. I certainly wouldn’t have broken the world record in the C2 flying 200m in 2019,” he says.
It was not long before the 23 year old from Greenwich was talent spotted and trying out for British Cycling at their headquarters in Manchester. He made the cut and has since competed around the world, but to this day, Matthew attributes his success to Lee Valley VeloPark.
“It changed my life forever, I simply wouldn’t have been able to develop my skills so early on in my career if I hadn’t been able to train at Lee Valley VeloPark,” he says. ‘‘The fact I transformed from an amateur to a professional athlete in just eight years is mind blowing – and it’s all thanks to Lee Valley VeloPark.”
Matthew just missed out on a spot on the GB team at Tokyo but has his sights firmly set on Paris 2024.