Hoy confirms retirement after glittering career, didn’t want to go to Commonwealth Games 2014 to make up numbers
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hoy confirms retirement after glittering career, didn’t want to go to Commonwealth Games 2014 to make up numbers

by VeloNation Press at 8:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track
 
Scottish rider hangs up wheels after taking six Olympic gold medals and ten world championship titles

Chris HoyAs expected, Chris Hoy today confirmed that he is retiring from cycling, hanging up his wheels at 37 years of age. The six-times Olympic champion has announced that he won’t continue on to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and has also taken the difficult decision not to ride the Commonwealth Games next year in Glasgow.

“London squeezed every drop out of me. To go on to Glasgow would have been one race too far,” he said in a video interview released by British Cycling.

“When I took the decision to retire, it wasn’t done in one day or one moment. I didn’t just suddenly think ‘that’s it, I know it’s time to retire.’ Since the Oympics in London I’ve been thinking about it, and running through the pros and cons on either side. I wanted to continue on for one more year, it would have been lovely to go to Glasgow next year. To compete in Scotland in the Commonwealth Games would have been the dream end to my career but I think you have got to be realistic and not think with an emotional head.”

Last summer Hoy took gold medals in the team sprint and keirin and elevated his Olympic title tally to six. It made him the most successful British Olympian of all time and also added to the ten world championship titles he had racked up.

He had to weigh out whether he should go out at the top, or to continue at what could have been a lower level than before. He has said that he has found it hard to maintain the same physical level and knows that there is no guarantee that he could win at the Commonwealth Games.

“You have got to actually think, ‘right, is this actually possible? Do you want to go there and actually be at your best, do you want to go there and just turn up to get the tracksuit and wave at the crowd, or do you want to go there to try to win a medal for Scotland and be competitive?’,” he asked rhetorically.

“I couldn’t imagine myself going there just to make up the numbers.”

Hoy’s success is something which has brought much to British cycling, but so too his guidance of others British Cycling’s President Brian Cookson praised him for what he had done.

“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,” he stated.

“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.”

Hoy will remain in the sport, having launched his own-name brand of bicycles last year. He is also going to have a mentoring role for riders at next year’s Commonwealth Games, and will be an ambassador for the event. He states that things already look busy.

“With retirement, you kind of have this image of you sitting around the house, twiddling your thumbs and trying to find yourself things to do. But the days are already filling up, the calendar is filling up really quickly.”

Those commitments include being part of the 2018 Youth Olympic bid that Glasgow is part of, and also that aforementioned ambassadorial role for the Commonwealth Games next year. He also has a number of charity commitments with UNICEF and the Scottish Association for Mental Health, plus other charity projects he will announce shortly.

Hoy also plans to ride his bike more for enjoyment, saying that he has appreciated the opportunity since London to ride his road and mountain bike and to appreciate the sport for itself.

He also wants to spend more time with his wife, saying that now he can finally put her first. “I’ve not no excuses now,” he smiled. “I have to go shopping with her now and do all the things that she wants to do that I had excuses for not doing in the past.”

Great Britain’s Performance Director Dave Brailsford has worked closely with Hoy for many years and said that he played a key role.

“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.

“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. I wish him the best of luck in his retirement.”

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