Great British Olympic great Sir Chris Hoy has officially announced his retirement from competitive cycling after a stunning 19-year career, feeling it was best to leave his profession at the top, after a golden summer at last years London Olympic Games.
The 37-year-old Scotsman, who has won a total of six Olympic gold medals, admitted that holding out to compete in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow may be a bridge too far after saying he had used up “every last ounce of energy and effort” at London 2012, he commented: “To go on for another year would be one too far, I wanted to get a medal for Scotland, [but] I didn’t think I could so wanted someone else to take my place.”
Hoy, who also racked up 11 World Championship gold medals and two Commonwealth Games golds during a glittering career, made the announcement at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, and went on to say: “It’s a decision that I didn’t take lightly and I thought about it very hard. In sport at the highest level you are dealing in the smallest margins and you can tell when you are good but not good enough.”
“Nothing would give me more pleasure than going to Glasgow, but I don’t want to be there for the numbers. Now it’s time for younger riders to experience what it is like to compete in front of a home crowd. I will be there to open it and soak up the experience.”
Hoy has received a number of tributes from many members of the sporting community, including from Lord Sebastian Coe, who described him as an ‘icon’, and fellow Team GB cyclist Mark Cavendish, who said what Hoy had done for the sport of cycling in Britain was ‘incredible’.
After claiming a silver medal in the Team Sprint event in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, Hoy went on to dominate the sport at the next three Games, collecting his first gold medal in Athens, followed by three in Beijing and two in London, and received a knighthood for his success in the 2009 New Year Honours List
He will also continue to stay involved with British Cycling in an ambassadorial role, and he is also the ambassador for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Finally, when asked to pick the best moment of his career he could not decide between his first Olympic gold and his last, saying: “Athens – stepping onto the podium, hearing my name read out and then hearing ‘Olympic champion’ after it. To me that was what my career was all about. I thought nothing could compare to that but in London, to end my career with my sixth gold medal, in the nature of the keirin, was a really special moment. I’ve had so much fun.”