Sir Bradley Wiggins may be forced to sell Olympic medals after going bankrupt

Sir Bradley Wiggins shows off the final Olympic gold medal the former Team GB athlete added to his palmarès after being part of the men’s team pursuit squad that triumphed at the Rio Olympics – Telegraph Sport/Julian Simmonds

Sir Bradley Wiggins could be forced to sell all of his Olympic medals, as well as the other trophies and memorabilia he accrued over the course of his career, after the former Tour de France winner was declared bankrupt in court.

Wiggins, 44, who retired in 2016 having won eight Olympic medals, five of them gold, became the first British rider to win the Tour in 2012. He went on to open the London Games that summer, famously ringing the bell to signal the start of an opening ceremony that was beamed out to a global audience of hundreds of millions.

Wiggins won the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year trophy later that year, and was knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to cycling.

A cult figure, much of the shine was taken off Wiggins’ career after he retired in 2016, when a Russian hackers group leaked medical information pertaining to scores of high-profile athletes, Wiggins among them.

Wiggins’ use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions – drugs used to treat medical conditions, which would otherwise be banned – before some of the biggest races in his career was considered by MPs to have crossed an ethical line. Wiggins always denied cheating, insisting the drugs were to treat pollen allergies.

In recent years, Wiggins has faced well-publicised financial difficulties with his company Wiggins Rights Limited entering voluntary liquidation in 2020, with creditors including HM ­Revenue & Customs, who were owed over £300,000.

In November last year, there were reports that Wiggins was facing bankruptcy over unpaid debts totalling nearly £1 million, after documents filed at Companies House by liquidators revealed that he was yet to repay any of the money he was said to have agreed to in order to satisfy a loan made to him.

According to The Times, Wiggins was officially declared bankrupt earlier this week at Lancaster County Court.

The report said trustees would now be appointed to “seize and sell” his assets, which could include medals and ­trophies.

Paul Rouse, head of client services at the accountancy firm Forvis Mazars, said: “Sir Bradley Wiggins is a British sporting icon, and for him to find himself in this financial position, a decade on from his peak, will be an extremely distressing fall from grace.

“A bankruptcy trustee will be appointed to seize and sell his assets, potentially including medals and trophies of his successful sporting past, as was the case with Boris Becker recently.

“As you would expect, those involved in elite sport are often focused solely on their primary goals of winning titles and striving for sporting excellence.

“Professionals will surround them to advise on the financial benefits that follow that success, and they would be wise to ensure that their chosen advisers are trustworthy, and that they are safeguarding their client’s long-term position.”

Wiggins has spoken movingly in recent years of his struggles with depression, with fame, and with the break-up of his marriage to his wife Cath, with whom he has two children, Ben and Bella.

Wiggins revealed many of his issues stemmed from his difficult relationship with his own father, Gary, a former professional track cyclist who abandoned Wiggins as a child and was found beaten to death in a town in New South Wales in 2008.

A year ago, Wiggins also revealed that he had been sexually abused by a coach when he was a young up-and-coming athlete.

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