Hoy lays claim to title of Britain’s greatest

IAN COLE profiles the latest of the leading contenders for the 2008 SJA Sportsman of the Year awards

Chris Hoy, standing proudly with three Olympic gold medals around his neck, has sparked a debate as to who is the greatest ever British Olympian.

Hoy came home first in the Keirin, the men’s team sprint (with Jason Kenny and Jamie Staff) and then the individual sprint.

Together with the kilo gold he had won four years earlier in Athens, that made the Edinburgh rock without doubt Scotland’s most successful Olympian.

His hardest race in Beijing was the sprint final, in which he was stretched to the limit by his young British team mate Kenny.

But Hoy became the first Briton to win three gold medals at a single Games since swimmer Henry Taylor in 1908.

Hoy went home to Scotland and 50,000 people turned out to cheer him along the Royal Mile. A Royal decree of a different sort may soon follow.

If Hoy becomes the SJA’s Sportsman of the Year he would be the third from cycling, after Reg Harris in 1950, and the ill-fated Tommy Simpson in 1965.

Click here for a full shortlist of likely contenders for the 60th annual SJA Sports Awards

To read Ian Cole’s previous profiles of award contenders, click here

If you are an SJA member and want to cast your vote for the 2008 Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year, click here and complete the easy-to-follow form.

Book your ticket for the 2008 SJA British Sports Awards – click here for the form, including the members’ price discount