Over the past 35 years I have met many of the world’s greatest and most successful sporting heroes. But none have been more genuine and more likeable in person than Sir Chris Hoy.
For me it was the standout memory of London 2012 when Hoy turned on an extra burst of speed to claim his record-breaking sixth Gold medal and win the keirin, crowning a pulsating final session at the Velodrome on a memorable Day 11 at the Games.
Watching the Scot dig deep and fight back to cross the line first after momentarily being overtaken by Germany’s Maximilian Levy in the final sprint was a sporting moment to cherish. And I defy any sports lover who watched the great man collect his gold medal not to share a tear of joy with this modern day braveheart.
Never have I met a sportsman who is a more perfect role model than Sir Chris and it was typical of the great man the way he modestly looked ahead to London 2012 when we spoke at the Team GB preparation camp and he talked about his ambitions for the Games and his pride at the way the sport of cycling has been elevated in Britain during his remarkable career.
Hoy, Trott, Pendleton provided thrilling cycling finale and are extraordinary role models
The most successful Olympic cyclist of all time, Sir Chris Hoy, will announce his retirement on Thursday (April 18) at the age of 37 in his native Edinburgh. This comes eight months after the inspirational Scottish icon became Team GB’s most successful ever Olympian at London 2012.
Hoy claimed his first Olympic gold medal when he won the one kilometre time-trial in the velodrome at Athens in 2004.
Successes in the team sprint, keirin and sprint at the Beijing Games four years later gave him three more gold medals and he was subsequently voted the 2008 BBC Sports Personality of the Year before being knighted in the New Year’s Honours list.
He took his tally to a British record six Olympic gold medals by winning the team sprint and keirin at London 2012. In all he has won seven Olympic medals, his first success being silver in the Team Sprint at Sydney 2000. He has also won 11 world titles.