Chris Hoy confirmed his retirement from cycling in Edinburgh on Thursday, calling time on a lengthy career that yielded six Olympic gold medals and eleven world titles.
The Scot competed in four Olympic Games – Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London – and in that time, cycling in Britain went from niche to mainstream as national lottery funding placed solid foundations beneath lofty dreams. Big names came and went (and even came back) in that period, but Hoy was the most consistent figure, producing a string of impressive displays at the biggest events.
Hoy’s run of success began in Athens in 2000, when he took silver in the team sprint alongside Craig MacLean and Jason Queally. Over the four years that followed, he took over from Arnaud Tournant as the top kilometre rider in the world, culminating in gold at the Athens Olympics of 2004.
By Beijing, however, the kilo had been removed from the programme and Hoy was forced to focus his energies elsewhere. In a remarkable run, he came up with gold medals in the team sprint, keirin and individual sprint.
Hoy left for Beijing as a cyclist and returned a household name. Later that year, he was named as BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year (the first cyclist since Tommy Simpson to be so honoured) and he was knighted for his achievements in the velodrome.
At 32 years of age, it would have been easy for Hoy to call time on his career at that point, and certainly the next Olympic cycle did not go as smoothly as his build-up to Beijing. But London 2012 was the always the aim, and Hoy delighted the home crowds by taking two gold medals in his final two events on the track – the team sprint and the keirin.
Hoy closes his career as Britain’s most successful Olympian and as one of the symbols of Britain’s remarkable transformation as a cycling power over the past 15 years. In this gallery, Cyclingnews takes a look back at Hoy’s career.