Great Scot eyes next victory
Sunday 17 August 2008
He is known as the "real McHoy", and yesterday the cyclist became Scotland's greatest ever Olympian, taking his medals collection to three golds and one silver with victory in the keirin track event.
Chris Hoy, 32 – a giant of the cycling world in more ways than one at 6ft 2in and 14st 7lb – devastated the field to stake his claim as the world's fastest man on two wheels.
Capable of propelling himself at speeds of about 45mph, he is now the favourite to confirm that status by winning yet another gold medal in the individual sprint on Tuesday.
That would take him one short of the five golds won by rower Sir Steve Redgrave. Coincidentally, Hoy rowed for Scotland, winning silver at the British rowing championships earlier in his sporting career. Hoy said he was trying to contain himself ahead of the first individual sprint heat today. "It's beyond expectations. Tonight is a fantastic night and one I'm going to remember for a long time," he said.
"I'm very emotional, but I'm trying to keep a cap on it because I've got another race. I've got to take it one step at a time. It's a three-day event; I need to get a good rest and come back with fire in the belly for number three."
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond hailed the victory, and the silver for fellow Scot Ross Edgar, as his country's "greatest sporting moment" at the Olympics. "Hoy is now Scotland's most successful Olympian, as well as one of our best ever athletes," he said.
Hoy was a specialist at the one-kilometre time trial, but this was scrapped as an Olympic event after Athens 2004, where he won gold.
Some doubted he would be able to adapt to the different disciplines and he admitted yesterday he had thought it was "the end of my individual career".
Jackie Davidson, chief executive of Scottish Cycling, said it was "just incredible" for him to have come back from the one-kilometre time trial being taken out of the Olympic programme and to have done two completely new events.
"When he was on the podium the other day he was quite emotional because of the fact the team sprint is an important event for him now.
"But he is the complete professional, the complete athlete; it will be just like 'focus on the next thing'. He's one of those phenomena."
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