Not over yet: Sir Chris Hoy tells New Zealand's Simon van Velthooven he'll see him at the Commonwealth Games in 2014

 

Following last night's glorious keirin gold at the velodrome, Britain's greatest Olympian Sir Chris Hoy vowed that London 2012 would be his final Games. However, a fellow competitor has revealed that Sir Chris is considering a challenge to face him at Glasgow's 2014 Commonwealth Games, meaning this isn't the final goodbye to his international career.

When he rode away from the ­Velodrome after the first round of the team pursuit, Sir Chris pulled up alongside New Zealand cyclist Simon van ­Velthooven as they pedalled back to the athletes’ village.

They didn’t know it at the time but the two would do battle in the last event of the Olympic action on track — the keirin final — and got talking about Hoy’s future.

“I asked him if he was going to turn up at the Velodrome for the Commonwealth Games and he said he might go for the kilo,” said Van Velthooven, who finished third in last night’s final as Hoy took gold. “So I challenged him to a ride-off at the Commonwealths.”

It’s an intriguing prospect, the idea of Hoy continuing for another two years, and such a goal is understandable when he has proved, at the age of 36, he is still at the top of his sport.

In addition, as a proud Scot, he does not want to let his countrymen down by not competing on home soil in Glasgow in two years’ time. But after so many years of toil to keep at the top of his sport and having become the most successful British Olympian of all time with six gold medals, how can he realistically lift himself any further?

There is nothing more for him to achieve in cycling with six Olympic golds and 11 world titles, and it’s difficult to see how even the most motivated of athletes can lift himself for the rigours of two more seasons of relentless training and preparation.

He has talked about the 2014 Commonwealth Games being a target and even hinted there was a small part of him that could imagine himself lining up in Rio de Janeiro and going for gold at the age of 40. But he also pointed out he was not getting any younger and the sport was not getting any easier.

“People don’t realise how hard it is,” he said, before saying of his future: “I’ll take a good few months off the bike completely. You just don’t know. Sometimes the choice is made for you. The last few years have not been easy.

“It’s harder to get up in the morning when you get to my age. I’d love to do it [the Commonwealth Games] but whether that happens, I don’t know.”

In an ideal world, Hoy would hope to compete in Glasgow. He added: “The dream scenario is to have that as my swansong but it’s a big ask. It’s 35 hours of training a week, sacrifices and time away from home.

“We talk about having a life and I’m looking forward to having one and spending time with my wife and enjoying a drink or two.

“Even going to the supermarket, which is 15 minutes of walking on foot, before I’d think, ‘Do I need to do that’ or do I cut down on time on my feet.”

It only seemed appropriate that it was left to Hoy, in his fifth Games, to steal the limelight in the final race of the entire track cycling in London and go past Sir Steve Redgrave’s haul of five Olympic golds. Redgrave was among those in the stands alongside Princes William and Harry.

The only piece missing from the fairytale ending was the fact that Hoy’s gold was Britain’s 22nd of the Games and he was not the man to surpass the great haul of China, the 19 golds from Beijing of which he won three. For Hoy, it was potentially the perfect ending for what could be his final track outing despite his hopes for Glasgow. He entered two events and won gold in both.

But from the moment of the Opening Ceremony when he walked into the Olympic Stadium as the flag bearer, he already realised that the four years of toil had been worthwhile.

“Even if I didn’t get any medal it was worth the years of hard work just to carry the flag,” he said.

For this belligerent competitor, such an outlook perhaps looked unbelievable but the sentiment was sincere. Should Hoy retire, British cycling will be left in good order in sprinting terms with his successor, Jason Kenny, himself a double gold medallist at these Games, only 24. “Jason can go on to become one of the greatest sprinters of all time,” said Hoy. “He can win in Rio and beyond that.”

Rio is no longer in the mindset of Hoy although Glasgow may still be.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence