King and queen of the track bow out

Sir Chris Hoy
Sir Chris Hoy in tears atop the podium to collect his sixth Olympic gold medal, for the keirin and 7th medal in total.

and their heirs have stepped in seamlessly.

Nothing is set in stone, no certainties – after all Sir Steve Redgrave memorably said after his fourth Olympics in Atlanta, where he won his fourth gold, that Anybody who sees me in a boat has my permission to shoot me, only to be there four years later in Sydney to win his fifth straight – but that looks like the last time we’ll see the British king and queen of track cycling in the Olympics.

Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, both didn’t both bow out the way we probably all wanted, well Victoria didn’t – though she was equally happy just because it was now finally all over – they do so with their successors, Jason Kenny and Laura Trott, already established as multiple Olympic champions, as Britain took what the UCI did with the changes after Beijing and again dominated the velodrome like no other country has.

Victoria had to settle for silver, another relegation/disqualification suffered after being denied in the women’s team sprint – the only track competition in which GB didn’t win a medal – she was penalised in the first race of the sprint final. Now the team sprint was justified, this looked incredibly harsh as she was reacting to Meares swerving elbow into her. Combating that resulted in a slight swerve outside the sprint lane, it didn’t interfere with Meares but it was enough for the officials. French I believe they said he was. Though she looked broken at the end of the second and deciding race she had a chance in it. After a bit of fun and games almost stationery at the top of the track she slowly passed the Australian at that point she seemed to have the jump and if she’d gone it looked like she’d caught Meares, it would ave meant a long run out but up to now she really looked to have the legs. But hesitation let here opponent in and it was all over.

Still silver to go with her gold in the keirin, along with the sprint gold from Beijing and the nine world titles. It’s not that bad. And as I said in a previous post you just hope she enjoys it this time and you really can’t see her back doing this for another four years.

It was a happier ending for us all with Sir Chris as he powered his way to the top of the British medal table with his sixth gold medal, overtaking Steve Redgrave’s five and joining Bradley Wiggins with seven medals in total, with a silver from his first Olympic outing.

It was tight and nervy though as he did his usual powering when the derny left the track, with two and a half laps to go, he’d gone from third to first as the second last lap started, dragging them all behind him. As the final lap started Levy, from Germany, was pulling up beside him, round the first bend the German was slightly ahead, into the second it was almost enough of a lead, almost that bike length but the extra distance he had to go high on the track did for the German, Hoy in the sprint lane he kept by not letting Levy get enough of a lead was enough with one last spurt to keep his keirin title.

Sir Chris Hoy - keirin 2012
Sir Chris Hoy - wins the keirin gold at London 2012 Olymoics

And what a way to finish a brilliant week at the velodrome, Britain’s greatest track cyclist, Britain’s greatest Olympian, the greatest track sprinter of all time, winning his sixth gold medal in style.

I’m 99.9% sure I won’t be competing in Rio. How can you top this? [The 2014 Commonwealth Games in] Glasgow is another question, as that would be the dream ending for me Sir Chris Hoy

Those games are two years away and if he does well at those, is still able to compete at the top then really what chance Rio, if someone just says to him it’s only two years away, you’ve come half the way. It surely could be tempting but only if he’s still at the top.

If not he’ll ride away into the sunset with those six golds, one silver, 11 world titles from 25 world medals and his natural successor ready to take on those totals.

After all with his win in the men’s sprint Jason Kenny as in two games already amassed half the number of golds Sir Chris did in four games, along with having the silver. Only 24 he won his sprint gold with ease, overcoming the bad loser Grégory Baugé of France – is there any other type of loser from France? The quiet man of the track is an immense talent who looks to be the one to challenge Sir Chris’ place as he did here taking that one sprint spot that was available.

Queen Victoria’s title is ready to be handed over to a twenty year old who has as many gold medals after one games as any other British female athlete, Laura Trott who added the Omnium gold to her team sprint gold from earlier in the week. Go Trotty Go!.

Laura Trott
Go Trotty Go! - Laura Trott wins the gold for the women's omnium, her second gold of the games.

All wrapped up in a a tiny package less than five and a half feet tall and a little over 8 stone in weight. Those two golds go with three world titles and three European titles. She is a superstar. Especially when you add in the other factors in her life, all talked about elsewhere of course but still worth repeating. Born a month premature, with a collapsed lung spent her first few weeks of life in intensive care, has asthma and has a build up of acid in her system that can only be sorted by throwing up post race. Superstar.

The Omnium was a roller coaster, even though she finished first in half of the six events – flying lap, elimination race and 500km (two lap) time trial – second in the 3km individual pursuit and third in the 10km scratch race. That third in the scratch after being shoved down a place along with a disappointing 10th in the points race meant that it came down to that time trial and lying second two points behind it wasn’t in her own hands. Finish three places above Sarah Hammer of the USA and the gold was her’s, two places and the count back is on accumulated time of the sprint races and so she had to best Hammer by 0.67 seconds.

It was head to head and all she could do was set down her own time and hope. She was .03 seconds faster than the second placed Aussie as Hammer came in .79 seconds slower in fourth. Perfect.

So in the end all the changes the UCI made, which we all know were done to make sure Britain didn’t dominate, how did they work out then?

Well they matched the gold tally from Beijing with 7 golds. The silver and bronze count were down because of the one entry per country per race. But they still picked up a medal in all but one race. So I don’t think it quite worked as they wanted. What a shame.

Then you look at British athletics, crow all they want as the media make darlings of the few medal winners in track and field – no, neither Ennis or Farrah are the moments of this Olympics – but can you imagine them winning 70% of races entered and winning medals in 90% of competitions entered, five competitors winning two medals. Hmm no.

Then you hear that delusional clown Robbie Savage laughably claiming footballers work as hard as rowers, cyclists and triathletes.

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