Sir Chris Hoy's career highlight? “It’d have to be a toss up between the kilo in Athens or the keirin, my final medal, in London.”
Today Sir Chris Hoy confirmed he was retiring from international competition at a press conference in Edinburgh. In the short term, he is hoping to take on a mentoring role for the Scottish team in Glasgow.
In a video interview, recorded on Tuesday by British Cycling at its Manchester base, Sir Chris also said: “London squeezed every drop out of me. To go on to Glasgow would have been one race too far.”
He added: “It’s your family, it’s your friends, it’s the people who have supported from the early years and they support you through the tough times when you’re not winning, it’s your team mates who inspire you to work harder but who you can have a laugh with at the same time. It’s the coaches, the mechanics, the physios, it’s the people who book your flights for you in the office. It’s realising you’re part of a big family. When you come to the end of your career, it’s sad because you’re stepping away from that but you know that you’ve made friends for life.”
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, said: “We respect Sir Chris Hoy's decision to retire from international competition and pay tribute to his spectacular achievements at the highest levels of elite world sport over the past two decades.
“Sir Chris is not only Britain's greatest Olympian, he is an inspiration and a first-class Ambassador for Scotland and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“We look forward to continuing our excellent relationship with him as, together, we share the excitement and potential Glasgow and Scotland's Commonwealth Games hold for the next generation of athletes aspiring for Gold.”
British Cycling’s President, Brian Cookson OBE, said: “The impact that Sir Chris Hoy has had on our sport since he won his first gold medal in Athens in 2004 is unparalleled. It goes without saying that not only is Chris an absolutely phenomenal athlete, but he is also an exceptional individual. The fact that he’s acquired six gold medals and is Britain’s most successful ever Olympian is testament to this. But Chris has done so much more for cycling – he was one of the first track riders to propel cycling into the mainstream back in 2008, bringing track cycling to new audiences and inspiring thousands of people to get on their bikes.
“Chris has always been a fantastic role model – his professionalism, passion for the sport and his determination to succeed at the highest level is central to the Great Britain Cycling Team ethos and is something that he has helped to foster amongst his colleagues as they look ahead to Rio. This truly does feel like the end of an era and we have a lot to thank Sir Chris Hoy for at British Cycling. Although I know Chris will still be involved in the sport and that he will continue to work with us, I want to wish him all the best for the future.”
Performance director of the Great Britain Cycling Team, Sir Dave Brailsford, added: “I can’t speak highly enough of Chris and his career. On a personal note I will never forget his Kilo in Athens – it was one of the most epic Olympic moments that I’ve ever experienced, the tension in the build-up was unreal. Chris’ application, athleticism and dedication are second to none and I’ve said it many times but he is a true Olympic champion who embodies all of the Olympic values. Chris is always welcome to come back to the velodrome and share his experiences and wisdom with the next generation of cyclists, and I wish him the best of luck in his retirement.”
A special programme paying tribute to Sir Chris’ career will be shown on Sky Sports 2 tonight at 7pm. It will also be available on demand.