Britain's most successful Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, bade an emotional and tearful farewell to competitive action having exhausted "every last ounce of effort and energy" winning at last year's Olympic Games.
The six-time Olympic gold-medal winner on the track has decided against competing in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, in his native Scotland. "It was not a decision I took easily or lightly, but I know it's the right decision," Hoy, 37, said at a special press conference at Murrayfield. "Nothing would give me more pleasure than going to Glasgow, but I don't want to be there for the numbers. Being objective, I got every last drop out in London. Now it's time for younger riders to experience what it is like to compete in front of a home crowd."
Hoy won his first Olympic gold in the 1km time-trial in Athens in 2004 and followed up four years later by winning three more golds in Beijing in the team sprint, keirin and individual sprint – the first Briton since 1908 to be so successful at one Games. Last year, he secured two more golds in the team sprint – helping clock a world-record time – and keirin, to overtake rower Sir Steve Redgrave as the Briton with the most Olympic gold medals.
Mark Cavendish, the former track star who has won 23 individual Tour de France stages, led the tributes to Hoy: "What he's done for cycling for this country has been bigger than anybody can even put into words."
Victoria Pendleton, who retired after the last Olympics, added: "Chris was a huge inspiration throughout my career. I am sure he will be very successful in whatever he chooses to pursue next."
And Sir Dave Brailsford, the performance director of the Great Britain cycling team, said he couldn't speak highly enough of Hoy and his career.
"Chris' application, athleticism and dedication are second to none," he said. "I've said it many times but he is a true Olympic champion who embodies all of the Olympic values."
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