Chris Hoy looks to London, may narrow focus
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chris Hoy looks to London, may narrow focus

by VeloNation Press at 1:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track
British track cyclist Chris Hoy is focusing on gold for the London Olympic games in 2012, and is willing to narrow his focus even if it means lowering his overall medal count. Hoy won gold medals in the sprint, team sprint, and keirin at the Beijing Olympics, and won gold in the kilometer at the Athens games in 2004.

Now Hoy is one gold medal short of the British record of five gold medals held by rowing legend Steve Redgrave. The 33-year-old Scot's accomplishments are all the more impressive as he was forced to change gears to win medals since his specialty, the kilo, had been scrapped as part of the Olympic track program in 2008. While he admits taking a risk by broadening his focus, the fact that the kilo was out certainly made the choice easier.

London is likely to be Hoy's last Olympic games, and while he would obviously like to defend his three Beijing titles, he will only take on that task if all the pieces fall into place.

"It's a risk and something you have to be aware of, but I wouldn't be entering a race unless I had the belief I was going to win it. It's still quite a long time to the Olympics and anything can happen," Hoy explained during a sponsor's event Tuesday.

"At the moment, I plan to go for all three and it'd be lovely to defend all three titles, but I wouldn't risk losing a gold medal for the sake of having three bronzes or three silvers. It's about winning gold medals, and I'd rather have one gold medal than three silvers."

Recent changes in the track program done to achieve gender parity in track cycling mean that Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton will have an opportunity to match Hoy's gold count at the London games. In Beijing, Pendleton won gold in the sprint, the only event she contested. New for 2012, Pendleton will also have chances for gold in women's team sprint and keirin.

"It's great news for Vicky. It's going to give her the chance to go for three events," explained Hoy.

Hoy was complimentary of Pendleton's work to have the International Cycling Union change the Olympic track program saying, "It's something she's been outspoken about and quite rightly so, to try and get the parity between men and women."

Not everyone can be a winner when changes are made to the program, and Hoy understands that from personal experience. But the uprooting of his main event from the Olympics is also what led to the success he enjoyed in Beijing.

The loss of both the men's and women's individual pursuit are where British Cycling will be hit the hardest. In Beijing, Rebecca Romero and Wendy Houvenhagel took gold and silver in the women's event, and Bradley Wiggins and Steven Burke won gold and bronze in the men's race.

Hoy explained, "There's pluses and negatives. I can really empathise with people like Rebecca Romero, Bradley Wiggins, Steven Burke, Wendy Houvenaghel, Olympic medallists in events which are not going to be there in two-and-a half-years time. When my event, the kilo, was dropped from the programme in Beijing it was devastating."

While Hoy sees the changes as positive, he also thinks preparation could suffer: "More than anything, it's the timing of it. You don't get a full Olympic cycle to change your plans and prepare. It's frustrating for a lot of riders but I think it's been done for a positive reason and that's to get parity between men and women."

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