Chris Hoy Beijing 2008

Chris Hoy, knighted for services to sport in the 2009 New Year Honours List, won his first Olympic cycling gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. On that occasion, he won the one-kilometre time trial, breaking the Olympic record in the process, but subsequently switched his attention to keirin and sprint events, with no little success.

Indeed, at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Hoy put us online blackjack playing schlubs to shame by contesting the team sprint, keirin and individual sprint and won gold medals in all three events. In so doing, he became the first Briton since Henry Taylor, at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, to win three gold medals at the same Olympic Games and the most successful male Olympic cyclist in history.

At he Laoshan Velodrome, on the western outskirts of the Beijing, Hoy and team-mates Jason Kenny and Jamie Staff set a new world record of 42.950 seconds in qualifying for the team sprint and, in the final, beat the French trio of Gregory Bauge, Kevin Sireau and Arnaud Tornant by more than half a second. The following day, ‘The Flying Scotsman’, as Hoy was popularly known, was imperious in the keirin, going for home with a lap remaining in the final and cruising to victory over compatriot Ross Edgar in a time of 10.450 seconds. In the individual sprint, Hoy and Kenny were the fastest qualifiers and, fittingly, met in the final; Hoy won the final in two straight heats to complete his notable hat-trick. Some would say you need an element of good fortune, others would declare the feat pure skill. When I’m on much the same thoughts run through my mind!


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