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What did Bradley Wiggins' instagram post mean?

Peter Stuart
19 Dec 2016

Sir Bradley Wiggins posted a curiously cryptic image of himself as William Wallace - why?

Last night, during the run up to the announcement of the Sports Personality of the Year award, Sir Bradley Wiggins posted a curiously cryptic message to instagram.

Wiggins’ instagram post shows his face, photoshopped in the war paint of William Wallace in the film Braveheart, with the message, ‘They Can Never Take My Package!!’

The quote is clearly an ode to William Wallace’s famous line, ‘They can take my life, but they can never take my freedom!’ That said, it doesn't explain what exactly Wiggins intended the post to mean.

Wiggins was looked over for a shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year despite becoming the most decorated British Olympian in history, likely on account of the recent scandals relating to his use of approved medication in 2012.

First was his TUE for use of corticosteroid triamcinolone before his win at the 2012 Tour de France, which several commentators have claimed would have offered him an unfair advantage. This was exacerbated by the investigation into a mysterious medical package received by Wiggins from team doctor Richard Freeman, likely the subject of his post.

But, why braveheart?

Well, we might speculate that Andy Murray’s Scottish nationality may have had something to do with it. Murray was quick to condemn Wiggins’ TUE use, and the secrecy surrounding it, and was obviously favourite for the SPOTY win while Wiggins failed to make the shortlist.

The timing may also have something to do with the hearing at the select committee today, where Sir David Brailsford and other figures from British Cycling have faced questions about how doping has been combatted in the sport, closely focussed on the mystery package. Wiggins may be attempting to assert that he is standing his ground in the face of the investigation.

Wiggins’ post, making light of the package controversy, may be a sign of confidence about the outcome, especially given an article in The Times earlier this month which indicated that charges ‘are not anticipated’ for Wiggins on account of the package. The hearing has revealed that the mystery package contained a decongestant named Fluimucil, and Brailsford suggested no wrongdoing had taken place.

For some it will be seen as making light of the turbulent few months in Wiggins’ career, for others a slightly audacious statement in the face of controversy, and ultimately confirms Wiggins’ slightly unconventional approach to public relations.


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