Three gold medals for untouchable Hoy - 8/19/2008
Chris Hoy turned up to the post-race news conference with his neck bowed down by the weight of metal.
The three gold medals he took in track cycling may not seem much next to Michael Phelps, but they represent as many golds as it is possible for a sprint cyclist to take. And Hoy is the first British athlete for more than a century to take three golds in a single Olympics—not forgetting the one he won in Athens.
“I wasn’t thinking about the three golds,” the 32-year-old Scot said. “Logic said it could happen, but the hard part is getting it on the day, when it really counts.
“I try to go into a race with the frame of mind that I couldn’t have trained harder. Whatever happens then is out of your hands.”
Hoy’s final victory, in the men’s sprint, was one of three British one-twos for the hugely strong team. He defeated teammate Jason Kenny in the final.
On Friday, Kenny shared in Hoy’s first taste of gold. They were both members of the sprint team that saw off the French to take victory on the first day of competition.
Hoy then went on to take gold in the keirin, and there again Hoy’s biggest rival was British. His teammate Ross Edgar walked away with the silver medal.
“Chris is a legend,” said women’s sprint gold-medalist Victoria Pendleton. “It’s amazing. He just keeps getting better and better.
“He’s my sporting hero and I get to train with him nearly every day. How lucky am I?”
The British team have been dominant in Beijing, taking seven of the 10 gold medals in track cycling. Hoy was asked whether that could lead to suspicions of doping.
“I would be very surprised if people were doubting us,” he responded. “We’ve stepped up to a whole new level since the world championships, but there are reasons for that.
“It seems more surprising that some nations have underperformed. The gap has been exaggerated by some nations that haven’t raised their game.”
The Australian team that took five golds in Athens had to settle for one silver in Beijing, while the Dutch team that not long ago was the best in the world picked up only one gold this time.
The only non-British rider to take more than one medal was Joan Llaneras of Spain, who won gold in the points race and silver in the madison.
“It’s sad that any sporting achievement in this modern era is questioned,” Hoy said. “I hope people realize this hasn’t come out of the blue. It’s been 12 years in the planning, 12 years in the making.”