Jim Lyon – Modest Hoy is a genuine great

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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It is unlikely one man has ever done more to raise the profile of a single sport than Sir Chris Hoy.

His achievements have been the catalyst for cycling to move from minority to mainstream and his role as an inspiration to the many world-class performers we now possess in the sport is undoubted.

A good measure of an athlete’s success is when his name grows bigger than his own world and seeps into the consciousness of the public in general.

There are few in Britain who do not know who Sir Chris Hoy is.

While people like Boardman, Simpson, Porter, Obree etc may have crept into the nation’s lives over the years, Hoy has knocked the door down and made his presence impossible to ignore.

And he is has done it in the nicest way possible.

Many stars across all sports get criticised, often unfairly, for their personality – normally because they either have too much or not enough – Hoy just goes about his business.

He is modest, humble even, and there are very few people who have a bad word to say about him.

That is apparent from the tributes that have already been paid.

Yet with six Olympic golds, two Commonwealth golds, 11 world championship titles and more – if anyone could be excused a little boast it would probably be him.

But were ego that big a part of him then his retirement wouldn’t have come.

His desire to ride at next year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games – in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome – must have been enormous.

He could have gone on, I’m sure, and competed for his own personal gratification.

However, he has made the right choice on many levels.

He admits his body was not up to it and so much better to bow out at the top than have one more go and not live up to yours and everybody else’s massive expectations.

Also it now gives our other phenomenal cyclists, of whom he has been the leader, to come out of his shadows.

The man who inspired a generation has now stepped back to let them grow their own wheels.

He has certainly left cycling in a better place.