By Jeyhun Aliyev
ANKARA (AA) – A story that began with a five-year-old German girl's curiosity for cycling turned her into an indoor cycling world champion medalist nearly two decades later.
Viola Brand, 26, an artistic cyclist and prominent social media figure, shared her success story with Anadolu Agency, which started in the town of Backnang in Germany when she was just a kid.
Brand, who won the national and European championships twice each and the silver medal three times at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships, recalled how there was a cycling club back in the1990s in the village where her family used to live.
"My eldest brother has always been very active on his bike, and my mother knew from the newspaper that there was a club in the village. So she took my brother there for training. As a little sister, of course, I always wanted to do what my brothers did," she said, adding that although the sport was an official competitive one, it was still "very unknown" at the time.
The future cycling star was saddened then for not being able to join her elder brother at the cycling club because, as a 5-year-old, she was still "too small" for the smallest bike size then.
"My mother promised me that I would be allowed to start with the sport at the age of six. So I insisted on starting shortly after my sixth birthday," she asserted.
Later in 2010, Brand, as a teenager at the age of 15, became a member of the German national team.
– 'Fight for your dreams'
Looking back on her childhood, Brand said she used to train for over 20 hours per week, noting that thanks to her training, she mastered all her "tricks."
"You need a lot of patience and endurance to practice because some tricks need many years to master. For example, it took me seven years to learn the handstand on the [handlebars of the] bicycle," she said.
Brand recommended new-starters to keep in mind that they should be patient enough to insist on training for one trick for many years and never give up.
She emphasized that due to the dangerous side of this kind of sport, those interested in becoming a competitive athlete in artistic cycling should overcome their fears of injuring themselves.
The German cyclist highlighted that people should "face the reality" that they won't be successful by "just sitting on the couch or always saying that they don't have a talent for something."
"It is not a talent that brings you to your dreams, it is the hard work that will help you to succeed. So stand up and fight for your dreams!"
Besides her other gains, Brand achieved a silver medal at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in 2016, 2017 and 2019 and won the European championship in 2018 and 2012.
On her belt-driven bicycle, Brand set a world record at the European Junior Championships in 2011 in her age group as well as another world record at the regular European Championships in 2018.
– 'Cycling is my life'
"Cycling is my life. Without the bike, I would not be the person I am today. Through the sport, I learnt how to be disciplined, how to keep on something, how not to give up, or maybe how to give up some time but then stand up again and try it one more time," she said.
Brand underlined that her sincere childhood interest in cycling taught her to "fight and work hard" for what she desired to achieve.
She went on to say that the perseverance and diligence she learned from the sport also helped her in daily life, including her activities at school and university.
Since 2017, Viola has been engaged with her "Viola loves cycling" channel on social media, where she casually presents artistic cycling in combination with fitness, health and lifestyle, which doesn't hold her back from conducting all content production and channel management herself.
In February 2020, the cycling star retired from the sports competition to focus more on her shows, social media channels and university.
Sports and social activities haven't restrained Brand from her aim of receiving higher education, as she is studying for a Master's Degree at the University of Hohenheim in Germany.