Guest Author - Asha Sahni
Chris Hoy, winner of Olympic gold medals for track cycling in Athens, Beijing and London, was born in 1976 in Edinburgh. Hoy’s magnificent achievement of three gold medals in 2008 proved inspirational for a generation of young men and women who were aiming for the 2012 London Olympics.
Hoy is a superb all-round sportsman – before settling on his current sport he represented Scotland in rowing and was a dedicated rugby player. He grew up with cycling, achieving success as the top BMX racer in Scotland, ranked number two in Britain.
The decision to focus on track cycling was a fortuitous one for Chris Hoy. It gave him the chance to concentrate on skills, speed and teamwork – essential in a sport where team events are an integral part of the portfolio of top riders. He started cycling regularly for Great Britain in 1996, and three years later gained his first World Championship medal in Berlin – a silver in the Team Sprint, together with teammates Craig MacLean and Jason Queally. This was the first of a host of World Championship medals, for both team and individual events including keirin, sprint and time trial.
Hoy excelled in an event called the Kilo – a one kilometre time trial – for which he won Gold at the Athens Olympics in 2004. He also won four World Championship gold medals for this event. However, Athens was the last Olympic Games at which the Kilo race was held, and Hoy thus began to focus more keenly on other disciplines within the sprint cycling portfolio. He holds Olympic and World Championship gold medals for both the Keirin and the Sprint.
Keirin. In this race a motorbike leads competitors round the track at gradually faster speeds for the first five and a half laps; the motorbike then departs from the race, leaving competitors to fight out the last two and a half laps without a motorised pace setter.
Sprint. A qualifying round establishes who will compete in the sprint event; this involves cyclists completing warm up laps which lead in to a time trial for the last 200m. Cycling distance in the sprint race can range from 600m to 1,000m.
Hoy’s achievements are due in large part to incredible discipline in his approach to his sport, training for 25-35 hours a week with sessions including weightlifting, road cycling and track cycling skills development.
If you would like to learn more about Chris Hoy and the roads that led him to success try his autobiography, a tale of determination and dedication to a sport whose profile he has raised throughout Britain.