British cyclist Chris Hoy retired today, ending a career in which he won a national-record six Olympic gold medals.
The 37-year-old had considered competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The Scot won two gold medals at last year’s London Olympics to surpass the British record of five held by rower Steve Redgrave.
“London squeezed every last drop out of me,” Hoy said in a statement on British Cycling’s website. “To go on to Glasgow would have been one race too far.”
Hoy broke Redgrave’s mark by winning the keirin on the final day of track cycling in London. It was his seventh total Olympic medal, matching the standard set by Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins earlier in the Games.
British Cycling President Brian Cookson called Hoy’s impact on the sport “unparalleled.”
“Chris has done so much more for cycling,” he said. “He was one of the first track riders to propel cycling into the mainstream back in 2008, bringing track cycling to new audiences and inspiring thousands of people to get on their bikes.”
Hoy is starting his own bike brand that will be marketed through the U.K.’s Evans Cycles, and plans to begin selling the seven different road and commuter cycles next month.
Hoy’s Olympic career started in Sydney in 2000, where he won a silver medal in the team sprint. He won his first gold four years later in Athens in the one-kilometer time trial, setting a sea-level world record with a time of 1 minute, 0.711 seconds.
After the kilo was dropped from the Olympic program, Hoy switched his focus to other events. He won gold medals in the team sprint, men’s keirin and men’s sprint in Beijing in 2008, becoming the first Briton in 100 years to win three Olympic titles at one Games.
Hoy was named the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Sports Personality of the Year for 2008 and the following year was knighted by Prince Charles, giving him the right to call himself Sir. He was then chosen by his fellow athletes to carry the U.K. flag at the London Olympics, where he added to his medal haul with victories in the team sprint and keirin.
“Throughout his remarkable career, Sir Chris Hoy has exemplified the values that define an Olympic champion,” British Olympic Association Chairman Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “Chris is an icon and he has earned a revered place among our nation’s greatest sporting heroes.
Hoy also won 11 gold and 25 total medals at the world championships, along with two gold and two bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games.
‘‘I’ve done the very best that I can,” he said. “I’ve had an amazing career and have so many people to be thankful for that but this is the end of it.”
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