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Chris Hoy won a sixth gold medal on the final day of track cycling to surpass rower Steve Redgrave as Britain’s most successful Olympic athlete.
Hoy, 36, won the men’s keirin yesterday for his second gold of the London games. The victory took his tally of total Olympic medals to seven, matching the mark set by Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins six days earlier.
“It’s what I always wanted -- to win gold in front of my home crowd,” Hoy told reporters. “This is the perfect end to my Olympic career.”
Hoy, a Scot, was knighted by Prince Charles in 2009, giving him the right to call himself Sir. Redgrave, another recipient of the honor, in 2000 became the first endurance athlete to win a gold medal in five straight games. Hoy’s Olympic career began at the same Sydney games where Redgrave’s ended.
“At Sydney, I was just over the moon with a silver medal,” Hoy said. “If I’d have stopped then I would have been a happy boy, but to go on to Athens, Beijing and here, I can’t put it into words.”
Hoy took silver in the team sprint in 2000 and won the 1- kilometer time trial four years later in Athens. In 2008 in Beijing, he added golds in the team sprint, keirin and sprint.
Also yesterday, Britain’s Laura Trott won the women’s omnium and Victoria Pendleton won silver in the women’s sprint.
In all, Britain won seven of the 10 gold medals at the Velodrome, which Hoy helped design.
Britain’s tally at the London games now stands at 22 golds and 48 total medals, its best performance since 1908, when the U.K. capital first hosted the games. China leads with 34 gold and 73 medals. The U.S. is second, with 30 gold among its 70 medals, and the British are third.
The host nation’s track cycling success came less than a month after Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour de France.
Wiggins went on to win the time trial in road cycling at the London Olympics, with countryman Chris Froome, who was second in the tour, claiming the bronze.
Last night, Hoy came from behind to beat German Maximilian Levy, 25, who won silver. Simon van Velthooven of New Zealand and Teun Mulder of the Netherlands shared the bronze.
Trott, who already had won the flying lap and elimination race in the six-event omnium, went into the time trial with 17 points to Sarah Hammer’s 15 and had to beat the 28-year-old American by three places in the final event to win the gold. Competitors’ placings in each race are added together and the person with the lowest score is the winner.
Trott, 20, won the 500-meter time trial in 35.11 seconds, with Hammer coming in fourth at 35.90. Trott finished with 18 points ahead of Hammer with 19, and Annette Edmondson of Australia won the bronze with 24 points.
“I cannot believe this is happening to me,” Trott said. “I was losing my head a little bit between the events because they weren’t going the way I wanted them to. I’m so happy.”
Pendleton, who was disqualified from the women’s team sprint on Aug. 2, was relegated from first to second following the opening race of the best-of-three sprint final against Anna Meares after officials said she hadn’t held her line in the last 200 meters.
The 31-year-old Briton went into the second race needing victory to stand a chance of winning the gold medal. A burst on the back straight saw Meares, 28, take a lead that Pendleton was unable to overhaul and the Australian tore off her visor in celebration after avenging Pendleton’s victory in the keirin.
“I would have loved to have won in my final race,” Pendleton, who is retiring from competition, told reporters. “I am just so glad I am done and I can move on.”
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