Six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy formally announces retirement

Scot says next year's Commonwealth Games 'would be a year too far'

After 19 years, 11 world titles and six Olympic gold medals, Sir Chris Hoy today called time on his cycling career. admitting that to compete at next year’s Commonwealth Games “would be a year too far”.

The 37-year-old had considered competing next year in Glasgow at the velodrome bearing his name but he told a packed press conference at Murrayfield Stadium in his home city of Edinburgh that he had decided to quit now because he feared he was no longer capable of matching the heights of performance he had enjoyed throughout a remarkable career.

“Today, I formally announce my retirement from international competition,” he said. “This is a decision that hasn’t come easily but, after discussing it at length with my wife Sarra, my family and my coaches, I am happy that this is the right time.

“During my 19 years competing at senior level, I’ve witnessed the sport of cycling in the UK flourish and transform beyond all recognition, and to have been there for the journey gives me huge satisfaction.

“Having had time since the London Olympics to reflect on my career, I know this is the right moment for me to bow out.

“Nothing would have given me more pride and pleasure than to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow but I feel that it would be a year too far and I wouldn’t be able to perform at a level which would do myself and the team justice.”

Hoy is rightly credited with being a key figure in revolutionising track cycling in the UK. At the start of his career, he cut a lonely figure at the top of the sport, keeping his place there as the funding increased, the specialist coaches came in and interest in British cycling exploded.

Hoy first developed his passion for cycling as a BMX racer which he did until the age of 14, while his attention turned to the track at the age of 18.

Hoy’s first medal on the world stage was a silver in the team sprint at the 1999 championship in Berlin, a medal he managed to match in the same event at his first Olympics in Sydney the following year.

But he first properly came to prominence with the British public at the 2004 Olympics in Athens when he won the 1km time trial.

Three further golds followed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, which was all the more remarkable as his specialist event, the kilo, had been scrapped from the Games schedule. Hence, he rebranded himself as a sprint and keirin specialist and was subsequently rewarded for those on-track heroics with a knighthood.

The path to London last year was not without difficulties as a back injury came close to thwarting his ambitions but he cemented his longevity at the top of the sport with two more gold medals in the team sprint and keirin to cap a remarkable career.

Mark Cavendish led the tributes to Hoy today, when he said: “You cannot underestimate what Chris Hoy has done for cycling in this country. He’s been the foundation of the sport here for many years and has been a key to its success. He’s been there throughout.

“You’d struggle to meet a more thorough professional and, off the bike, he’s just an incredibly nice guy. I’m proud to say that he’s been such a strong part of the sport I love.”

Hoy professed a desire to continue cycling in retirement and will now turn his attention to his work as a Games ambassador for Glasgow as well as focusing on charity work with the likes of Unicef and SAMH as well as developing his own range of bicycles.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all