TRACK cycling king Sir Chris Hoy has refused to rule out competing at the Rio 2016 Games after winning a sixth gold medal to become Britain’s most successful Olympian of all time.
Hoy won the men’s keirin to overtake Sir Steve Redgrave’s five rowing golds on another day of British dominance in the Velodrome, with Laura Trott brilliantly snatching the women’s omnium and Victoria Pendleton taking sprint silver.
Victory in what seems almost certain to be Hoy’s Olympic swansong helped Team GB reach 22 golds by the end of day 10 of London 2012, propelling them beyond their Beijing 2008 total of 18 and to their best total since the 1908 Games.
The Scot conceded the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow would likely represent the end of his competitive career, but the man widely regarded as track cycling’s greatest sprinter left the door tantalisingly ajar for a fifth Olympics.
“The keirin is a lottery and you never take anything for granted in it,” said the 36-year-old. “I can’t describe the feelings I have at the moment. This is enough for me, this is the perfect end to my Olympic career. I’m 99.9 per cent sure I won’t be competing in Rio.
“How can you top this? The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is another question, as that would be my dream ending.”
Hoy dug deep to hold off German Maximilian Levy on the last lap and secure his second gold of London 2012, following team sprint success, and was congratulated immediately by Redgrave, who was at trackside to see his record surpassed.
If Hoy’s triumph was in the script then the afternoon’s other two results deviated slightly from the expected order, happily for Trott, who became the first British woman to win two track cycling medals in a single Games – and at her first Olympics.
The 20-year-old went into the 500m time trial needing to finish two, places higher than American rival Sarah Hammer, and she brilliantly took first before it was announced Hammer had come fourth.
“I can’t believe this has happened to me,” said Trott. “The crowd was chanting my name and I thought ‘I am not going to let them down’.”
Pendleton could not match either Hoy’s fairytale or Trott’s double gold as she bowed out of competitive cycling with a controversial 2-0 defeat to her nemesis, Australian Anna Meares, in the women’s sprint final.
The 31-year-old had won the final’s first race by a whisker only to be relegated for the second time at this Games, on this occasion for riding out of her lane following a coming together with Meares.
“I’d have loved to have won but I’m just so glad that’s it all done,” she said.