Another day, another honour for British cycling. Sir Chris Hoy was yesterday named as the British flag-bearer for the opening ceremony on Friday.
Hoy, a four-time gold medallist, was the overwhelming winner of a vote by the 542 members of Team GB. It means the 36-year-old Scot will attend his first opening ceremony at his fourth Olympic Games. "This is a huge honour," said Hoy.
"I am absolutely delighted. To be leading out Team GB at the Olympics is the stuff of dreams and it being a home Games makes it even more special."
In his previous three Games, Hoy has never attended the ceremony either because of it being too close to his competition day or that the cycling team were yet to arrive in the Olympic Village – the rest of the track cyclists will still be at their Newport training camp on Friday, while the road team will be in Surrey.
It is a heady time for Hoy's sport in this country with further Olympic success expected to follow Bradley Wiggins' historic triumph in the Tour de France on Sunday. "In the cycling world already he [Wiggins] is such a superstar, and he is used to receiving a lot of attention wherever he travels," said Hoy. "In the UK is potentially where the real change will happen, when he is walking around the streets and he is out and about. I think his life will change drastically and I am sure he will deal with it incredibly well.
"I have known Bradley since he was 16 and seen him go right through the ranks and then become a champion in every single facet of the sport that he has participated in. He managed to do three weeks of perfect racing in the toughest of conditions and it is amazing.
"We are still pinching ourselves here in the British cycling camp at what he has achieved. Cycling has received such a huge profile boost and if we can continue that with more success, cycling will become even more popular in the UK and we can get even more people on their bikes. That will be felt not just for future champions and future gold medallists, but also for the health of the nation, congestion and the environment. There are so many positive spin-offs from people cycling."
Wiggins is now preparing for the road race on Saturday – which is why he will not be at the opening ceremony – where he is part of the British team looking to help Mark Cavendish to gold. Wiggins will chase gold of his own in the time trial next week.
Rule Britannia: GB's flag-bearers
1906: William Grenfell, Fencing
1908: Kynaston Studd, Cricket
1912: Charles Smith, Water polo
1920: Philip Noel-Baker, Athletics (Was a known advocate of disarmament, recognised as the 1959 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Previously served as a British delegate in the formation of the United Nations.)
1924: Arthur Hunt, Water polo
1928: Malcolm Noakes, Athletics
1932: David Cecil, Athletics
1936: Jack Beresford, Rowing (To go with five medals at the Games in Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler presented Beresford with an oak sapling. He donated the tree to his alma mater Bedford School and it was dubbed the "Hitler Oak".)
1948: John Emrys Lloyd, Fencing
1952: Harold Whitlock, Athletics (Won gold in the 50km walk 16 years previously, despite falling ill from food poisoning 38km into the race.)
1956: George MacKenzie, Wrestling
1960: Richard McTaggart, Boxing
1964: Anita Lonsbrough, Swimming
1968: Lynn Davies, Athletics
1972: David Broome, Equestrianism
1976: Rodney Pattisson, Sailing
1984: Lucinda Green, Equestrianism
1988: Ian Taylor, Hockey
1992/1996: Steve Redgrave, Rowing
2000: Matthew Pinsent, Rowing
2004: Kate Howey, Judo
2008: Mark Foster, Swimming
Flag-bearers by sport
5 Athletics, 4 Rowing, 2 Equestrianism, Fencing, Swimming, Water polo, 1 Boxing, Cricket, Hockey, Judo, Sailing, Wrestling.
Flag-bearers by gender
20 males, 3 females.
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