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Hoy ready to accept 'massive honour' of carrying British flag


Sir Chris Hoy would accept an invitation to become the first cyclist to carry the British flag at Friday's opening ceremony for the Olympic Games despite the track team not being scheduled to leave their training camp in Newport until the following day.

The flag-bearer will be named this afternoon after a complicated voting process is completed. The ceremony in the Olympic Stadium lasts for around four hours and a number of athletes prefer not to take part because of any physical effects it might have on the eve of competition – few swimmers will be among the parade of 204 competing nations, with their events beginning the following morning.

That is not an issue for the track cyclists as the action in the Velodrome does not get under way until the following Thursday.

That means the team are to remain in Wales, staying at Celtic Manor and training at the Newport velodrome as they replicate their build-up to a memorable Games in Beijing. But Hoy would be permitted to go to London a day ahead of the rest of the team.

"You never expect these things at all and if it did come my way then it would be a massive honour," said Hoy. He added that it had not previously crossed his mind that he might be asked, but were he to be, there was no question of refusing the invitation.

He said: "You couldn't overstate how much of an honour it would be to walk out at a home Olympics and to lead your team out. It will be an amazing experience for whoever gets it. It's not something you can turn down."

Hoy will be competing in his fourth Olympic Games. In Beijing he won three gold medals but it was revealed last week that he will only have the chance to defend two of them in London after Jason Kenny was chosen ahead of the 36-year-old Scot in the individual sprint.

Others thought to be in contention to carry the flag include Paula Radcliffe and Katherine Grainger. Four years ago the swimmer Mark Foster was chosen.