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Saturday April 20, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday April 26, 2013 MYT 12:24:10 AM
EDINBURGH: British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday led tributes to the country’s most successful Olympian Chris Hoy, after the cycling great announced his retirement from the sport.
The 37-year-old Hoy, one of the most recognisable figures in British sport, bowed out as the most decorated cyclist in Games history with six Olympic gold medals, as well as 11 world titles.
Cameron wrote on Twitter that the Scot’s retirement was “the end of a remarkable career”.
“His contribution to British sport and six Olympic golds will continue to inspire,” he added.
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Sir Chris Hoy is Scotland’s greatest ever Olympian and one of the best sportsmen these islands have ever seen.”
British Olympic Association Sebastian Coe, who chaired the London Games’ organising committee, said Hoy “has exemplified the values that define an Olympic champion”.
“His respect for opponents, and commitment to clean competition, has been unwavering. And his dignity in victory has set an example that generations of Team GB athletes will strive to emulate,” Coe added.
Figures from within the world of cycling queued up to herald Hoy’s achievements, with British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford hailing his commitment to the Olympic ideal.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Chris and his career,” said Brailsford, who, like Hoy, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II following the British team’s exploits in London.
“Chris’ application, athleticism and dedication are second to none and I’ve said it many times, but he is a true Olympic champion who embodies all of the Olympic values.”
Hoy’s fellow Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton, who retired after last year’s London Games, tweeted: “He has been an incredible ambassador for cycling, not only nationally but also globally. A huge inspiration throughout my career.”
British sprint sensation Mark Cavendish, who has won 23 Tour de France stages, said Hoy’s impact on cycling could not be overstated, as he spearheaded the country’s dominance of the sport in recent years.
“He’s one of the most professional athletes I’ve ever seen; one of the nicest men, on and off the bike, that I’ve ever met,” Cavendish said.
“What he’s done for cycling for this country has been bigger than anybody can even put into words.”
There were also tributes from other sports, with British tennis number one Andy Murray, a fellow Scot, describing Hoy as “one of the greatest sportsmen that Scotland ever had”.
“He has great longevity, which obviously shows that he is extremely professional and very hard-working,” added the US Open champion.
Hoy made his announcement, which had been widely expected, at Murrayfield Stadium in his native Edinburgh. – AFP
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